About TPF Gender Equality Fund

TPF’s strategy around gender equality focuses on addressing socially determined gender inequalities, which are deeply rooted in attitudes, institutions, and market forces in our society. We recognize that achieving results entails closing the gender gaps in education, economic opportunities, and enhancing women’s voice – the ability to be heard and to make choices about their own lives. And, all of these efforts require engaging men and boys.

In Turkey, improvements sometimes mask steep variance in social and professional environments, with women in poorer households facing widening gaps. Increased access to schools has helped close female-to-male gaps in enrollment, completion of primary school, and transition to secondary school. However, issues of learning and quality of services remain and problems around transitions from school to work continue to be a huge problem.

Turkey ranks 130th out of 136 countries in the world in terms of the gender gap.

Female employment remains low, hovering below 30 % nationwide.

70 % of women don’t have any primary school education. And, 56% of females drop out of high school.

Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe with an estimated 15% of girls married before the age of 18. However, statistical data available may not be representative of the scale of the issue since most child marriages are unregistered and take place as unofficial religious marriages.

Gains in empowerment are uneven, with changes in the enabling environment still not fully translated into practices. Gender-based violence continues to be a constraint to women’s empowerment.

Gender equality is about changing the norms and expectations about female and male roles and ultimately changing power relations. We believe men are key actors for, and beneficiaries of, fostering a more balanced distribution of power within governments, companies, formal and informal institutions, and households.

We believe that households, markets, and institutions; and the interactions between them influence gender equality. Accordingly our programs focus on: EducationEconomic opportunity, as measured by participation in economic activities; Empowerment, as expressed in freedom from violence, the ability to have voice and influence in governance and political processes, and the ability to exercise control on key life decisions.

Our Goals are:

  • Improving Education for Girls: Closing the remaining gender gaps in education by increasing schooling and, increasing girls’ enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Facilitating the school-to-work transition. Investing in early childhood education and teacher training.
    • Turkish Philanthropy Funds is tackling major roadblocks that prevent Turkey’s female population from achieving their dreams. Providing access to education by means of scholarships, building schools, and literacy centers allows women and girls to thrive in all areas of their lives.
  • Removing constraints for more and better jobs: Increasing women’s participation in the labor force and their income-earning opportunities. Developing policy frameworks for childcare services. Working on improving infrastructure that prevents women’s participation in paid employment and promoting the conditions for women’s entrepreneurship.
    • Turkish Philanthropy Funds supports projects where women are taught life skills that will earn them an income, thus empowering them to become independent and confident breadwinners. From weaving kilims to sewing bags, women throughout Turkey are making major family decisions, learning how to manage their finances, and becoming entrepreneurs. Through TPF partners just in the southeastern city of Van alone, TPF has built two workshops, employing over 130 women and girls, impacting over 1000 family members.
  • Enhancing women’s presence in key decision-making: Building the base for effective representation, participation, and decision making for women in government and business.
    • TPF harnesses the drive of women in Turkey to achieve their potential by simply providing the training needed to succeed. Through teaching leadership skills and assisting with job searches, TPF’s partner organizations are guiding Turkish society’s young women to success and increasing the labor force participation rate.
  • Engaging men and boys in the empowerment of women: Especially in changing adverse cultural norms and promoting positive behaviors towards gender-based violence.