The Raoul Wallenberg Institute recently held a gender and law training program in Turkey. Twenty young female law students in their third and fourth years of law from fourteen faculties across Turkey participated in the course.
The students focused on how law and legal processes are gendered. These students will graduate in one or two years and begin their career as lawyers, judges, prosecutors, academics or human rights advocates.
“We wanted to help them to understand relations between gender and law and develop an understanding of law as an instrument of social change toward gender equality,” says Sebnem Kenis, RWI advisor.
The first day of the training focused on the basics of gender theory. “Participants got introductory knowledge on what gender is, and how gender, gender roles, and gender hierarchies are socially constructed. They also had a chance to learn the basic terminology and concepts in gender studies and the history of women’s rights in Turkey and in the world,” says Kenis.
RWI plans to repeat similar trainings for diverse target groups such as academics, legal apprentices and lawyers in the upcoming periods.
“I feel like I have more knowledge and power now. Here we learned that we can change things. We have learned what the problems are in law enforcement and what sort of solutions should be developed to solve these problems. These are very valuable for me.” (4th grade student, Turkish-German University, Istanbul)
“I feel myself more powerful as a woman and student of law now. I have learned how to better struggle with gender inequalities. After this training, I want to improve myself in gender studies.” (4th grade student, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir)
“I can connect theory and practice better now. Sometimes you have theoretical knowledge, but cannot relate it with practical realities. On the other hand, sometimes you observe problems in practice without understanding their root causes and the theoretical discussion behind them. Thanks to this training, I have learned how to build connections between theory and practice. I feel more equipped and empowered now.” (4th grade student, Marmara University, Istanbul)
The main goals of the training
- Increasing participants’ understanding of the social construction of gender and gender differences and different roots and manifestations of gender-based discrimination and gender inequalities.
- Helping participants to develop a better understanding of relations between gender and law by discussing gendered processes of law making, legal education, law enforcement, and judiciary.
- Increasing participants’ knowledge on national and international legal mechanisms on gender-equality, gender-based discrimination, and violence against women.
- Strengthening young female law students soon to graduate and begin their career as judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and academics against gender-based discrimination within society, workplaces, or courts.