Categories: Agenda

What are local governments doing for women in the pandemic?

With the pandemic, women had to close home, where they were most violent. According to the 3-8 April survey of the Socio-Political Field Research Center, violence against women increased by 27.8 percent during the Covid-19 epidemic period. Women’s organizations underline that protective mechanisms should work with this extraordinary process in mind and respond to women’s urgent needs. So, how do the municipalities, which include women’s units and shelters, give an examination in this process? What kind of policies are being developed and implemented for the new and urgent needs of women emerging with pandemic?

The Equality Monitoring Women Group (EQUALIZED), which was created in 2009 with women from different professions working on women’s rights, held a session on municipal women’s policies in the Covid-19 process. Officials from Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Dersim, Gaziantep, Eskisehir municipalities attended the session held on zoom and explained the women-oriented activities they carried out during the epidemic process. The moderator of the session was academician Sevgi Uçan Çubukçu.

In the session, the insufficiency of shelters, which the municipalities with a population of more than 100 thousand, had to be underlined, and the view that opening new shelters is essential was shared. However, unlike the Alo 183 Social Support Line, it was emphasized that an independent telephone line regarding violence is one of the most urgent needs. However, it has been noted that regulations that prevent local governments from collecting donations are a significant obstacle for municipalities that cannot implement women’s policies due to lack of resources.


Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Women’s Studies Chief Şenay Yılmaz says that the violence-based applications, which were 11 percent before the pandemic, rose to 38 percent with the pandem. Yılmaz continues as follows:

“In this process, we kept the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Women’s Advisory Center open. In this center, we answered all applications face to face during working hours. We opened a line of violence in the second week of the pandemic. This line provides 24/7 service. We, like everyone else, received a lot of violence. There were no such violent applications before. 38 percent of the women who called us said that they experienced violence and needed urgent help during this process. This increased our cooperation with ŞÖNİM (Violence Prevention and Monitoring Center). 62 percent of women reached for financial aid, food aid, article aid and psychosocial support. ”

“During this time, we did not close our women’s shelter and increased its capacity. We made new female admissions. This often required us to contact ŞÖNİM and we worked in very coordination in this process. We have a protocol with the Ankara Bar Association; We provide free lawyer support to women under this protocol. In the digital magazine we published, we introduced the KADES application of the Ministry of Interior and frequently informed the police stations about directing women to ŞÖNİMs. ”

“Under the leadership of our president, Mansur Yavaş, we tried to provide cash support to all women who went to house cleaning, who could not work in this process. We solved the shelter problem. We did not interrupt our item bank project and continued to provide item support, even under difficult conditions. ”

“We have been working with refugees since 2017. We have a project covering 382 women and 182 girls. In this process, we provided the necessary support by asking the questions: “Are women exposed to violence, can they access hygiene materials, can children continue their education through EBA?” ”


Hale Kargın, Head of Social Services of Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality, explains that they have experienced a rapid digital transformation with their pandemic and that they have brought all the support provided by the municipality online. In addition, a creative writing workshop for women is held online, Kargın says, “Stories continue to come from women.”

“In this process, there was no situation exceeding the capacity of the refuge applications in Eskişehir. There is no bottleneck on this. Some one-to-one supports such as psychological support, dietitian support, legal support and family counseling are all carried out through the online counseling method. Our relevant experts started to provide telephone services from their homes. ”

“In collaboration with Eskişehir Bar Association, we prepared brochures explaining what to do in case women are exposed to violence. While thinking about how to deliver these leaflets to people trapped in the pandemic period, we thought of water delivery vehicles. 200 thousand brochures were given to 140 water distribution vehicles, and an information leaflet will be distributed along with the water. Apart from that, we have public bread buffets and 50 thousand brochures will be distributed here. ”


Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Women’s Branch Manager Kübra Cinkılıç states that they carry out the work within the municipality in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and academicians and says, “We are a strong municipal authority in the field.”

“If you do not have a preparation or infrastructure in the pre-pandemic process, it is very difficult to reflect this on the pandemic process. In this process, we have seen the facilitating effect of field domination closely. A meeting was held with the participation of non-governmental organizations working in the field by the teleconference method and the chairman. With the information coming from the field, the needs of the municipality should be discussed and guidance was received. ”

“Our women’s guest house continues to operate actively. We have an institution that accommodates 20 women and all accompanying children. Currently it continues to work with full capacity. In this process, we provided social assistance to women who had a confidentiality decision and did not want to call any institution and give their address over the phone. At this point, we decided that we should work closer with ŞÖNİM and we provided the support we provide for women with a confidentiality decision to women via this center. A service model that we have never thought of but that this process has taught us has emerged. ”

“Since 2016, there is a project we have been carrying out with UNICEF to prevent child marriages. In this project, there is a line we have set up in the issue of child marriages. This line was a bit more restrained in the pre-pandemic process. It is very interesting for us to activate this line with the pandemic. Our number of calls increased, we started to receive more calls. ”

“In the pre-pandemic period, we have a women’s center project that we conducted with UN Women and ASAM. A central fact that Turkish and Syrian women, conducted jointly. In this center, different workshops and in-service trainings are held. We have a women’s cooperative in this center, and women will start producing masks next month. We plan to produce 320 thousand masks. ”


Zelal Yalçın, Social Policy Coordinator of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, defines the viral days we are in as a period when local governments give exams about women’s policies. He points out that the municipalities, which do not have an infrastructure for women’s policies, can remain without hands in the face of needs arising in such an extraordinary period. Yalçın explains some of the works carried out by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the pandemic as follows:

“150 Nursery programs in 150 neighborhoods were suspended due to a pandemic. Our preparations continue, but we cannot start it. We had efforts to support women’s co-operatives and women’s labor offices. We had to suspend them. ”

“The vulnerable groups that were more affected by poverty in the pandemic process were the segments that we should primarily put in our target. We got in touch with 300 women, we started to support women by delivering food parcels. We contacted places such as small tradesmen, hairdressers, shopping malls where women work intensively and prioritize the needs from them. Also in this process, we moved our psychological support mechanisms to an online environment. We opened the psychosocial support line online. ”

“We had a post-shelter life support center project that we put in front of us and were about to start. Frankly, we were waiting for the result of our license. There is a lot of clutter in the bunkers and women are very nervous about getting out of here. Because they are in economic difficulties. We prepared a model where women who stay in shelters and who have survived risky processes can stay for up to one year. However, in the pandemic period, we immediately put it into operation by saying, “Today’s need is not life after the refuge, today’s need is an emergency refuge”. Our refuge is now open and our first step support center is ready. ”

“We started online nursery, children’s group service. Really, houses became unbearable for children and women during this period. Childcare is left to women. We have launched an online play group study to support 5-6 year old children. ”


Dersim Deputy Mayor Canan Ay Doğan states that suicide cases increased in Dersim, where economic and psychological problems were encountered during the pandemic process. Reminding that he has not been able to receive news from the university student Gülistan Doku for 120 days, Doğan states that the situation has created anger in the city and caused trauma.

“There are not many applications regarding violence in this process. There are demands that come mostly in line with economic needs. We try to respond to every request, in line with the favorable economic conditions. Supports such as diapers and food are especially demanded for food and children’s special needs. You know, the financial ruin that our municipality has taken over from the previous period is an obstacle to our efforts. Despite the economic difficulties, we try to provide support especially for women at the points requested from our own income as much as possible. ”

“There is a Women’s Life Center in Dersim Municipality. We have a psychologist here. In line with the requests and telephones, our psychologist continues to provide support over the phone. ”

“We continue the understanding of the cooperative that comes from our experience in Ovacık Municipality in this process, and we carry out projects to meet the production-based expectations of the society. One of them is communal gardening. Here, we carried out fruit gardening with 350 trees in three neighborhoods. In addition, we will produce vegetables on a land of 11 decares. All women participating in production will share products equally and meet the needs of their own home. “


Element - Mulierlife News Editor, Magazine, popular people, Researcher author.

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