a person in a red dress holding a mirror near a body of water
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

9000 years of shame in gender equality!

“Have a house, a wife, and an ox.
Buy your wife with money
If necessary, let her walk after the ox…”

These lines belong to the famous poet Hesiod, known as the father of Greek didactic poetry written in the 8th century BC…

“…and women
our women…
…our mother, our half
and die as if it never happened
and its place on our table
who came after our ox…”

These lines belong to the great master Nazım Hikmet.

“… you are a daughter, you will bow your neck
You will go to the wild!
Don't be a bride, let her work in the rotten field,
Not a woman, not a mother, but a slave…”

These verses are by Rıfat Ilgaz

Just like Nazım Hikmet, he reveals the society’s view of women with his masterful language.

There are centuries between the lines written by Hesiod and the dates when Nazım Hikmet and Rıfat Ilgaz wrote these lines.

Isn’t this a situation that all humanity should be ashamed of for the unchanging position of women in society despite the passage of centuries?

Pandora’s box!

Earth is 4.5 billion years old, modern humans evolved 200,000 years ago. The history of Çatalhöyük, the first Neolithic settlement in Anatolia, dates back to 9,000 years ago.

One of the most important features of Çatalhöyük is that it was an egalitarian society where different groups lived together. When we look at social practices such as sharing, house arrangements, burial techniques, men and women were equal.

While Çatalhöyük defined an ideal social status on the axis of gender equality 9,000 years ago, unfortunately this structure has completely changed in the following periods. In the 5,000-year time from this to the Hittite Period, the role assigned to women differed. Woman had been positioned as man’s helper, servant or slave in society as a commodity.

The Greeks believed that there were only men in the world until the first woman was created. His anger at men and their patron Prometheus was instrumental in Zeus creating Pandora as a scourge. Pandora is considered the first woman in Ancient Greece. She was the first woman to blame for man’s sinfulness, with a box that contained all kinds of calamities and elements that would make the world worse and polluted.

As in mythology, the role of women in life throughout ancient times was shaped within the boundaries drawn by men. What about nowadays?

Today, 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 worldwide have no access to education or participation in the workforce. This ratio is 1 to 10 for boys.

Millions of girls around the world are still subject to child marriages. According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), 17 thousand girls in the 16-17 age group were married in Turkey in 2019. The number of children born between the ages of 15-17 is more than 9 thousand.

Would it be wrong to say that the social position and role of women are still drawn by the male-dominated world in a rather limitless and unfounded way?

Nothing can happen without gender equality!

Have you heard of such targets in government or civil society policy anywhere in the world?

– End all forms of discrimination against men and boys everywhere.

– Eliminate all forms of violence against all men and boys in public and private spaces, including trafficking in men, sexual and all forms of exploitation.

– Eliminate all harmful practices such as child marriage and forced marriage at an early age.

Of course no! However, these very basic human rights and freedoms are still listed as ‘goals and targets’ in the UN Sustainable Development Goals for women today! Shame on all humanity!

What about the situation in our country? Child marriages, femicides, inequality of opportunity in education and workforce… Don’t each of us have a responsibility for these? Of course there is, and more…

There is no need to say big words. Let’s take a look at the state of gender equality, which is clearly defined in terms of sharing, home order and social life, as it was in Çatalhöyük 9,000 years ago, in our own life practices and in social life.

Let’s take a look at our behavior sets in the family, the words we use daily, and the way we raise our children. At home, sincerely review your approach to your son and daughter. You will see many differences, large and small, focused solely on gender in your attitudes and thoughts.

Change begins in the family. We have a responsibility to raise our children ‘correctly’ in this regard. In our daily life practices, in our family and social life, in the work environment, in our actions and words, we all have the obligation to be ‘correct’ and behave.

As we always say, the solution to very big problems is to take small but effective steps individually. Small steps taken with real awareness become the footsteps of big transformations…












Leave a Reply