Becoming a volunteer to mainstream gender equality
For Ekin Su Yilmaz from Turkey, joining UN Women as a UN Youth Volunteer was her life-long dream. Supporting SDG 5 targeted projects as her day-to-day work, Ekin was inspired by International Women’s Day to share her story.
As a young woman, I have always been motivated in creating spaces for women to participate in decision making and gaining leadership roles. I wanted to help eliminate barriers to gender equality in my country and region and accelerate achieving 50-50 by 2030 globally. – Ekin Su Yilmaz, UN Youth Volunteer with UN Women, Turkey
Ekin studied Political Science and Public Administration at Middle East Technical University, completed several internships and actively participated in numerous SDG-related projects. She started volunteering right after her graduation as she wanted to be a part of a meaningful effort and to learn from inspirational people before pursuing a master’s degree.
This thoughtful approach helped Ekin to get engaged with UN Women as a National UN Youth Volunteer. Through her Programme Assistance Assignment, she is currently supporting UN Women activities gaining significant experience and insights on drafting strategies, coordination with civil society organizations and assisting development programmes and projects.
I have not only ended up strengthening my practical skills on delivering SDG 5 targeted activities but my experience as the UN Volunteer has also given me the motivation to continue to work for an equal future where inequality will be unknown and unexperienced by the upcoming generations
Collectivity of individual wills
For Ekin, volunteerism is essential to mainstream gender equality as only a collectivity of individual wills and efforts can bring lasting change, she says.
The more volunteers we have to openly promote gender equality, especially among young women and men who are willing to engage in dialogue with their parents and grandparents’ generations and encourage the youth, the more successful we will be in this. – Ekin Su Yilmaz, UN Youth Volunteer with UN Women, Turkey
The UN Women Office in Turkey works closely with the Government and civil society to promote gender equality, empower women and unlock progress for everyone in Turkey by focusing mainly on initiatives in leadership and political participation, ending violence against women and girls and peace, security and engendering humanitarian action. Being an integral part of the UN Women country team, Ekin contributes to the empowerment of women and girls in Turkey, including women with disabilities, Syrian women and girls under temporary protection and their advocacy networks.