Global Symposium on Tackling Taboos and Empowering Women and the award ceremony took place in Antalya on 26 October with the participation of First Lady Ms. Emine Erdoğan.
Held in partnership with UNFPA, the symposium focused on the effects of social taboos on the sexual and reproductive health and gender equality.
The symposium brought together many opinion leaders from many fields, in particular Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policies Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, UNFPA Director-General Dr. Natalia Kanem and Deputy Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Emine Alp Meşe.
“Violence against women cannot be tolerated”
In her speech during the award ceremony, First Lady Ms. Emine Erdoğan stated that one among every three women was exposed to physical or sexual violence in their lives.
Concerning female circumcision widely applied especially in African countries, Ms. Erdoğan put forth that “We are firmly determined to fight with violence against women in Turkey. Violence against women cannot be tolerated. Likewise, child marriages cannot be accepted at all. Unfortunately, children face with very heavy problems that they cannot possibly carry, and become object of sexual abuse. We know that pregnancy-related maternal mortality increases by 5 times under the age of 15. Children belong to schools and education facilities.”
“Breast milk is an elixir of health”
Underlining the importance of breast milk as an elixir of health that would affect the whole lifetime of a baby, Ms. Emine Erdoğan added that “Sadly women were, at a certain period, discouraged from feeding their babies with their breast milk. They were exposed to some propaganda to spread consumption of formulas. But we all have started to understand the value of breast milk once again”.
Deputy Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Alp Meşe “Role of women in the society is very important for healthy development of societies”
In her speech during the ceremony, Prof. Dr. Emine Alp Meşe mentioned about the activities of the Ministry to develop health of women such as reproductive health, pre-marriage consulting service, healthy life centers and guest mother project, and added the followings about fighting with cancer:
“We have initiated free scanning programs for early detection of breast and cervical cancers that are the most common cancer types in women all around the world. 3.5 million women have benefitted from these scanning programs so far, and we could detect, in early phases, 35 thousands cancer cases and extend their lifetime to spend with their families and friends. We enabled monitoring of all women between 15-49 ages about the reproductive health by the primary healthcare facilities and family physicians, and we provided information and monitoring for 7.7 million women in 2017 by the healthcare professionals.