Meriç Uluşahin / ABank CEO

Can you imagine the value to be created by the women for the Economy?

The number of women joining the business life in Turkey has been increasing day by day. Nowadays, we can hear the names of women at management levels more and more. The number of the women executives has increased to 30% in Turkey. However, we are still far below the world average.

It can be said that we have discovered the economic value of the availability of women in the workforce in this century. We ignored this valuable asset due to many reasons. However, increasing the role of women in business life today has a crucial place in the global and corporate policies of the companies for the economy of the future. The most constructive step taken is that this vision has turned into a government policy for the countries today. The more the educational level of our women increase, the more their labour force participation rate increases. While the labour force participation rate of high-school graduate women is 34%, this rate is over 71% for the university graduates.

The economic growth comes along when the gender equality is established in business life, and the gap against women is closed, A number of reports and researches published in the recent years showed that there is a direct connection between the empowerment of women and the increase in the Gross National Product, growth and rising in the educational level. When the number of the girls going to school increases by 10%, the average gross national product of the country increases by 4%. When a girl is educated, it means a step is taken in order to break the poverty cycle in a single generation. Around the world, still 70% of the 130 million young people who are not able to go to school consists of girls. Can you imagine the value to be created by these young people involved in economic activities?

Looking at the sector I am included in, I can say that the finance sector is the leader among the sectors where women employment is prominent. The rate is at 50% level for many years, and I think this is related with the corporate structure of the sector. There is a clear success story ahead. Career paths and promotions are determined depending on success, performance and experience rather than subjective assessments. This creates an environment where the staff can improve themselves and get ahead in their career path on equal footing without any gender differences. Equality can be clearly observed in the labour force use in a sector if corporateness is established there. The basis for the corporateness is again education.

I believe that the most critical factor affecting the career of a woman executive or employee is the support she received from her family and social life besides corporateness. The women go through two important hoops before coming to a certain stage in their careers. The first one is the period when they start working after school, and the second one is the decision for continuing their career after marriage and maternity. At both stages, the factors in their family and social lives can block them even if the career paths are open at their corporation. The women can progress only when they have equal conditions and support at these areas in addition to the necessity of availability of a corporate organizational structure. Women nature bears the struggle and patience coming along with the motherhood instinct. For sure, there is also empathy which is the most important one. After the terms and conditions in business life become equal, these characteristics can make women get closer to leadership.

Anadolu Group is one of the leading groups in Turkey, and pursuant to the research of November 2014 volume of Capital magazine, Anadolu Group is the Holding having the biggest number of women executives in Turkey. Within this context, I am proud of being an employee / executive of this group having such a high level of knowledge and experience.  Gender equality is at top level as a value in Anadolu Group, and it is settled within the organizational culture. The number of the companies that made this a part of their culture is limited not only in Turkey but also in the world. We have four executive level managers at ABank which I am the CEO of, and the rate of the medium level women executives is at the levels of 50%. This is not something related with positive discrimination, but is a development stemming totally from performance and success. We have a philosophy of seeing the value of the equality and making the investments accordingly. I believe that this picture is directly related with the sustainability vision and the corporate point of view of the group.

With love and warm regards,

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