Göksoy: Women-oriented local government is possible with co-chairship

  • women
  • 11:19 19 February 2024
  • |

MERSİN - Stating that women-oriented local government is possible with the co-chairship model, Mimoza Women's Association Chair Çiğdem Göksoy said: "This system also enables women to benefit from the service."

The work of political parties in the field has accelerated as they prepare for the local elections to be held on March 31 in Kurdistan and Turkey. Local elections, which are among the most talked about and discussed agendas in the country, are also important for women. Women who struggle to change the management approach that deepens gender inequality in society are following the process closely.
Mersin's Akdeniz Municipality was one of the 96 municipalities won by the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) in the local elections held in 2014 and to which trustees were appointed as of 2016. The target of the trustees appointed to the municipality governed by the co-chairship system was women's studies and centres. The municipality's Ishtar Women's Centre was closed and the municipality's women's shelter was turned into a picnic area. Women, who are expected to be left without a solution and interlocutor at the local level with the trustee policy, are now preparing to go to the polls to claim their gains. Çiğdem Göksoy, President of the Mimoza Women's Association, which was established in the city in 2020 and comes together with women through their work in the field, made evaluations about the local government approach and co-chairship system.
Stating that women's roles in the home and society have been turned into an endless cycle, Göksoy said that the problems arising from this have also multiplied. Göksoy said: “In our work in the field, we can see that there are no areas where they can express themselves. Women who say that their living spaces do not belong to them are confined to their homes and are forced to integrate them with the concept of family. Therefore, we can observe that they cannot direct their lives, girls are withdrawn from schools and marriages at the age of 16-17 are normalized. We can see this in Romany, Kurds and a Yoruk Turkish woman. In the study we conducted in 10 neighbourhoods regarding active participation in local governments, we reached 514 women. The common discourse of these women is, 'Violence never changes. We can see psychological, economic violence and brutal beatings at home."
Stating that women are seen as "substitutes for man leader figures" in politics, Göksoy touched upon the change experienced with the Kurdish women's movement and the struggle of feminists. Göksoy said: “Women's quota emerged during the HADEP period. We have come to this day by fighting against the mentality of 'There are no women' and 'Where did this come from?' As the process progressed, equal representation and co-chairship were granted. Even during the process of the first co-chairs, Aysel Tuğluk and Ahmet Türk, it was the first man figure to be seen. However, Aysel Tuğluk's stance and women's representation made the system understandable. Management mechanisms without women are shaped by men's minds. This leaves women helpless and isolated in the face of problems. In the co-chairship system, a bridge is established with non-governmental institutions and this ensures that women benefit from the service." 
Stating that there are five women's shelters in Mersin, but these areas, whose addresses are disclosed, do not allow women to live safely with their children, Göksoy continued: “Our clients say that women's shelters are no different from a prison. The structure governed by the male mind creates space for violence because it does not think about women. When a woman is subjected to violence, the first place she goes is local governments. In this sense, the co-chairship system becomes very important. Because women in management can create cooperation with local women against violence.”