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UNESCO Training Programme on Gender Equality for the Private Sector

"UNESCO launched its first training programme aimed at increasing women's leadership in the private sector in Istanbul, Turkey. The week-long programme (10-16 June 2015) will be attended by around 200 senior and mid-level managers representing a variety of sectors and companies of Koç Holding, one of the leading private sector companies in Turkey with close to  100000 employees. 

This initiative is the first implementation of a project developed under a Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and Koç University, signed in 2013, which envisaged the development of a joint executive-style training programme to increase women’s representation in the private sector, especially in senior management. 

The training programme is intended to advise companies and senior executives about the economic and social benefits of gender diversity in management and its positive return on company well-being and profits. While several initiatives aiming at  increasing women’s participation and representation in the private sector exist, in Turkey as well as other countries, the UNESCO- Koç University Programme is unique in that it encourages corporations and their senior management to change recruitment, professional development and promotion policies to open up  space for professional women based on their distinct skills and capacities and to allow them to advance in the  private sector on their own terms.

Participating as both  co-organizer and expert in the programme,  UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, Ms. Saniye Gülser Corat, commended UNESCO and Koç University for their partnership in this groundbreaking training programme. Speaking about the global gender disparities that exist within the private sector and the obstacles women currently face, she  provided recommendations to ensure a promising and profitable future for Turkey and other developing countries seeking to increase women's leadership. Furthermore,Ms. Corat spoke about UNESCO’s promise to promote gender equality and noted that  “For UNESCO, gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys.” 

In her opening remarks, Professor Cigdem Kagitcibasi, Director of KOC-KAM at Koç University, stressed the importance of the partnership with UNESCO ‎and noted their plans to continue to offer this programme to other companies in Turkey in the coming months and years.

Gender equality has been a global priority for UNESCO since 2008 and under UNESCO’s current Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021,  the Organization maintains that worldwide, "gender equality is necessary for economic growth, social justice and sustainable development‎."

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