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HeForShe Türkiye has left behind seven years of advocacy for gender equality. To celebrate this anniversary, the renowned actor and HeForShe Advocate Kerem Bürsin and young activists came together to have a discussion on issues related to gender equality and transformation of harmful masculinities.
Young people across Türkiye came together with the HeForShe Advocate, and famous actor Kerem Bürsin at a workshop to celebrate the HeForShe Movement’s 8th birthday. Conducted on September 20 in Istanbul, the gathering provided an enabling space for young women and men to hold an honest discussion around gender equality and harmful masculinities together with Kerem Bürsin. Putting young activists at the heart of the gathering, the workshop facilitated conversations around gender inequalities, ways to notice these inequalities and how to transform society towards achieving an equal future.
At the event, Actor Kerem Bürsin, who was announced as HeForShe Advocate in December last year, emphasized the importance of solidarity against inequalities and the important role men have in it, “I am very grateful for coming together with young friends and working with them towards achieving gender equality. Listening to their challenges and their ideas to overcome these challenges makes me feel that change is possible, and together we can do it. According to the latest UN Women report, if we continue at this pace, gender equality will only be achieved after 300 years. We must accelerate the progress and men should take active role in it. Men should come together more frequently, talk through their experiences, and be persistent to find ways to eliminate inequalities. This event is the first of the meetings we will conduct together with young men and women. We will continue to meet with youth, raise our awareness, and discuss the transformative role of men in building an equal future.”
Following the discussion, young women and men created slogans from the main results of the discussion and placed them on banners. The workshop reached and counted the voices of young people through placing the messages on banners that were posted under #IfNotMeWho hashtag on Twitter.
Şerif Esin, a student studying Computer Engineering in Urfa – a border city to Syria - shared his thoughts about the discussion with the following words: “Hearing new perspectives made me aware of gender inequalities that exist in our society and what kind of privileges I have just because I am a man. I understood the reasons behind some of the behaviors that I didn’t realize before. There are certain expectations in the society such as ‘men shouldn’t cry or dance’. What if I want to cry or what if dancing is the best way for me to express myself? I don't want to be stuck in the expectations of others just because I’m a man. Gender roles that negatively affect men affect women at a higher degree and cause inequalities for everyone. Being in a room full of people who had similar goals felt hopeful. I wholeheartedly believe that there is no challenge that we can’t overcome as long as we work together to live in an equal world.”
Sinem Aydın, HeForShe Türkiye Coordinator stated that working with Kerem Bürsin is instrumental in mobilizing young men against gender inequalities. “Questioning the factors that give a rise to prejudice and discrimination is one of the first steps taken to transform our societies. Traditional norms and values assigned to men and women since birth are at the root causes of inequalities we witness today. Men should realize the privileges they have only because they are men and stand in solidarity shoulder to shoulder with women to achieve gender equality. The efforts and positive examples made by men for gender equality should be more apparent in society. To accomplish this idea, we will continue to work shoulder to shoulder with young people and leading figures such as Kerem Bürsin.”
HeForShe Türkiye and Kerem Bürsin will continue coming together with young men and women from across Türkiye and facilitate discussions to raise awareness around gender equality, harmful masculinities and the role men have in transforming the society. The banners created throughout workshops will be turned into an exhibition, sharing the messages of young women and men across the country.
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