Organizing Our Voice Campaign

February 15, 2003 – June 30, 2003

At the General Assembly of KESK held in April 2002, the importance of KESK’s role in advocating for gender equality was emphasized. The following actions were outlined in this regard:

  • Advocating for legal and regulatory measures to establish equal relationships against the system and male-dominated mentality that cause the exploitation and oppression of women in the workplace and all social areas, aiming for a livable Turkey and world.
  • Removing barriers to women’s equality struggle and ensuring women’s representation by making necessary adjustments in their organizational processes.
  • Engaging in the struggle for the reconstruction of social, political, and economic life in solidarity with other women’s organizations.

One of the first initiatives taken after the congress was to organize a Maternity Rights Survey. In July 2002, a Maternity Rights Survey was conducted on 5,000 public sector female workers to reveal issues during pregnancy and leave periods, expose the consequences of gender discrimination, and develop recommendations.

The survey results showed that female public sector workers faced gender discriminatory practices, especially regarding pregnancy and maternity leave, and encountered problems with childcare facilities. To draw attention to the childcare issue, KESK members took their children to workplaces on September 13, 2002. Discrimination and problems related to pregnancy and maternity leave were among the main reasons for organizing the “We Organize Our Words” Campaign.

Campaign Objectives:

  • Putting an end to gender-based discrimination in public workplaces.
  • Protecting and improving maternity rights.
  • Removing barriers between women workers and union organization, ensuring active participation of women in union struggle.
  • Creating pressure for necessary legal regulations by considering universal norms and the demands of female public sector workers.

Campaign Demands:

  • Making legal regulations in line with the ILO Maternity Protection Convention.
  • Increasing paid maternity leave to a total of 24 weeks, reorganizing breastfeeding leave and parental leaves, taking into account Turkish conditions.

Campaign Activities:

  • Displaying and distributing posters, leaflets, and other publications containing campaign demands in workplaces.
  • Visiting media institutions to raise awareness about employees’ maternity rights and Turkey’s obligations.
  • Sharing campaign demands with independent women’s organizations and mixed-gender organizations.
  • Holding mass press statements.
  • Submitting petitions to authorities in public workplaces advocating for increased maternity leave.
  • Sending faxes to female members of parliament urging them to sign the ILO Maternity Protection Convention, increase maternity leave, and end discrimination in the public sector.
  • Visiting the Minister of State for Women and Family Responsibility for the same purposes.
  • Organizing a signature campaign to protect maternity rights, increase pregnancy and maternity leaves.
  • Bringing attention to the childcare issue by taking children to workplaces.
  • Submitting a petition with forty-eight thousand signatures through a mass demonstration in Ankara to the Prime Ministry.

Campaign Achievements:

  • Raised awareness about gender-based discrimination in public workplaces.
  • Increased women’s participation in unions.
  • The tangible achievement of the campaign was the extension of paid maternity leave, as requested in the campaign.
TIS Eylemi, 2009, Ankara
Sample Petition
Media Report
Response to Petitions
Achievement Press Release