NGO – Women for Women’s Human Rights

by Jessica Stone

Women for Women’s Human Rights – NEW WAYS was founded in 1993 “to promote women’s human rights and to support the active and broad participation of women as free individuals and equal citizens in the establishment and maintenance of a democratic and peaceful order at national, regional and international levels.”  It was formed to address basic human rights violations that women experience in the workplace and at home.  In Turkey, women are deprived of schooling and face forced marriage, prohibition from work, domestic violence, and honor crimes and killings.

As part of WWHR-New Way’s first field research as an official NGO in 1993, researchers

Turkish women protest restrictions on abortion rights. Source:  The Guardian
Turkish women protest restrictions on abortion rights. Source: The Guardian

discovered that women in Turkey’s most populated cities are “unaware of the rights granted to them by the law.”  Furthermore, according to its website, this research verified that “…women’s lives in Turkey are shaped by patriarchal practices, traditions and customs that govern all social zones, rather than the legal rights obtained on paper. Additionally, the patriarchal practices did not take into consideration the needs and the expectations of women, including sexual and reproductive rights.”  With this knowledge, WWHR – New Way has called for the eradication of gender roles in Turkish society with activism, advocacy, and lobbying.  The NGO’s efforts have been imperative for accomplishing various legal reforms in Turkey, networking in Muslim societies, and promotion of women’s equal human rights at the United Nations level.  The NGO has worked with the Economic & Social Council of the UN, which provides consultation on difficult affairs.

The NGO developed the Human Rights Education Program for Women (HREP) to inform and cultivate Turkish women’s knowledge of their human rights.  Since its implementation in 1995, the nation-wide outreach has reached more than 7,500 women in 42 Turkish provinces.  But the outreach extends much further – participants have become a resource for equality and advocacy in their community so that other women can develop – and hone – necessary skills to improve their confidence when handling personal adversities on a daily basis.  Together, women from all parts of Turkey have become active agents in advocacy efforts for social reform on the national and international level.  Lastly, HREP has initiated and is coordinating “The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR)”, the first active solidarity network in Muslim societies for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and human rights.

Source: Women for Women’s Rights “About Us” Page

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