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  • Writer's pictureElise Quevedo

Happy International Women's Day 2020

The 8th of March 2020 is here. Happy International Women’s Day!

There is one person within my inner circle, someone I get to call a friend and brother, who is probably one of the most respectful and supportive individuals of women I know. His name is Prof Dr. Emre Alkin.

A couple of years ago we co-wrote an article for this day. So today, I asked him, since we last wrote this article for women's day, do you think we have achieved more equality? And what is your prediction now for the future of equality?

Before reading his answer, you may want to read the original article which was released at MilliOnAir Magazine: (click here)

His answer to the update:

"I have to start from my own country: Since you released the article, we didn’t change much but the will for change is increased, I must say. Still so much to do but, I must admit that social media works better than conventional media, although most of the people think that this is the source of the malice. With the social media and digital world, gender inequality in business, and the social life, in sports and in many places becomes very transparent and taking action becomes more powerful and accurate.

Sad but true, we are talking so much about equality, positive discrimination, another means for a better world, but we don’t do much more than talking. Even the leaders of the modern world are using some language that puts our efforts at stake. This is not something we can fight from top to bottom, in reality, this is something we have to learn and commit from bottom to top. I mean, we have to educate the people from their childhood, make them believe that a better world will come with equality.

So far what we are trying to do is doing “makeup to an old building”. It’s better than doing nothing of course, but we have to understand and admit that comparing the results and the efforts we made is quite discouraging. Equality is not something that we can teach in school. This has to be learned at home, I mean the parents are the key element.

The public pressure about a man or a woman’s identity has to be changed. Still, the majority of the world population is living under the oppression of different cultures that try to differ the man and the woman in society and define their importance with very subjective criteria. From my way of definition, we can easily understand that culture and civilization are not the same. Most of the societies who called themselves civilized actually stuck so much in their culture and lose objectivity.

From the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka, from the USA to Turkey we are living in some cages that the social environment built with “does and don’ts”. Least people have the courage to cross that “Red tick line” and earn his or her freedom and equality. Often, I am the eyewitness of men who tries to show respect and compassion for women but has fear they will be sentenced by society. Love is felt but never told in these places. Shoving love in some societies is a sign of weakness, and violence is commonly accepted as an appropriate form of expression. And this is where we fail. Violence can be physical, psychological and mobbing can be accepted and normalized.

I am for equality, but I didn’t learn this in school. I learned it from my parents. I accept that I’m lucky because I could be another man. But this is not something that we can leave to luck. We have to educate first the parents, then most importantly the children. In addition to this, the content of lessons in school also has to require equality. We have to keep away the children from dogmatic content and show them good examples that how equality can bring us together and put more value to society.

To summarize my words, we have a lot of things to do but, we have to do all we can and bring our best to create a more civilized world. A world rising above all prejudice, dogmas, and misunderstandings."

Once again, very powerful and insightful words from Emre. And he is right, two years have gone by, and not much has truly changed.

  • Have we seen an increase in awareness? Yes.

  • Has there been enough action taken on a global scale? No.

  • Is there hope for the future? Yes, but it will take time.

I personally believe in supporting every human being regardless of gender, race, color, size, sexuality or religion, and when it comes to equality, I believe we need to understand the strengths and values of each person.

Emre is right when he says it needs to be from bottom to top. It starts with what we learn as children for the future to truly change. The people who are making the most noise and decisions are mainly talking the talk. They sit down, they meet, they talk about a better future, but what do they actually do?

The key is always action and education. Something we are still lacking on a global scale.

I do have hope that over the next generations to come, changes will happen. For today, be happy, call one or two of the women (or any individual) in your life, and tell them how amazing they are. Until we put ourselves in someone else's shoes, we can never truly understand how it feels to be somebody else and what struggles/challenges they may be going through because of what society standards say.

As a woman, do I feel I am treated fairly always? The honest answer is no. There are many situations where I feel the unfairness and the judgment because of what society says I should do or look like.

Here is my lasting thought. No matter who you are, surround yourself with people who value you, accept you and love you for who you are. Celebrate being here today and remember, you can make every day the beginning of the rest of your life.

Thank you, Emre for your amazing contribution today.

Elise Quevedo


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