Gender justice congress delves into divorce, underlying issues

Gender justice congress delves into divorce, underlying issues

Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), a prominent Turkish non-profit, launched its fourth Gender Justice Congress in Istanbul yesterday.

This year's event, held at Istanbul Ticaret University, focused on the issue of divorce as it brings together experts, women's rights activists and academics.

The program discussed the role of socio-economic issues in divorce, how it's viewed in religion and its effects on health and other aspects of life.

Organizers said that they want to create an interdisciplinary platform to discuss the issue, start a debate on resolving the common problems women face in terms of the divorce, and discuss policies to support them and their families.

Addressing the event, KADEM Director Sare Aydın Yılmaz said moral, legal and religious rules look to prevent divorce.

"In preparation for the congress, we discussed the motives behind divorce with experts and identified ‘infidelity' as the main reason.

"Domestic violence, jealousy, and disagreement on how to raise children are some other key factors. Today, social media is also having an impact on family unions. It is a new phenomenon that fuels the financial expectations of individuals. We have to find ways to respond to this new phenomenon," she said.

"Although we should not see it from a gender perspective, divorce certainly affects women more. But, it is the children who are affected the most."

Yılmaz said the decision of filing for a divorce is a major challenge, especially for women with low levels of education and those who have never been employed in anything other than domestic chores.

"It shows the necessity of socio-economic empowerment for women," she said.

The official statistics for 2017 showed that the number of divorces has gone up in Turkey. The divorce rate increased 1.8 percent and some 128,411 people filed for a divorce last year.

Turkey offers free counseling services for couples considering divorce and counseling for children of divorced couples.

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