I have been a part of Borusan Cat for many years. Therefore, the issue of "women in business life" and gender inequality did not become an obstacle for me, and I had the opportunity to move up the career ladder in the way I deserved it.

I am indebted to the fighting women that came before me. I sincerely admire those brave pioneers who went on strike for a better future and took the fire in the fight for equality. My sisters and I, like our predecessors, continue this battle. Therefore, the International Day of Working Women is a special day that shows us what we are striving for.

The event that made March 8 the International Day of Working Women was, in fact, a tragedy. After the death of 146 workers, young women, and migrant women mostly, in a fire at The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the movement for equality gained momentum, so March 8 became what we know it to be today.

We can never forget this. We must always remember how hard rights and freedoms we enjoy today were earned and how valuable they are. We, women, know best about the importance of social equality. That is why we must not stop until we reach our goal.

I have always been proud of our corporate culture that professionally supports gender equality, our principle of taking proactive decisions on this issue, and the use of the concepts of "Love starts with language" and "Borusan Equal" instead of adjectives male or female.

I would like to share with you some impressive research findings that I heard at a recent event I attended.

It is a fact that closing the gap between the number of working women and men will have an extreme impact on the global economy. In addition to social change, narrowing this gap means a contribution to the global economy of between $12 trillion and $28 trillion and growth between 11% and 26%.

If the female employment rate in OECD countries is brought up to the level of Sweden, the contribution to GDP* will be estimated at $6 trillion.

 *GDP (Gross Domestic Product): An economic measure of the market value of all final goods produced in a given period.

According to McKinsey's research, companies with more female leaders and at least 1 female leader in the senior management team outperform other companies of the same tier, creating a 7-point difference in the average return on equity**.

 **This ratio, calculated by dividing a company's net income by equity, measures how much profit shareholders receive in return for their equity investments.

The numbers are fascinating, aren't they? The social, cultural, and economic contribution of gender equality is clear. But today, women around the world still have to give up their working lives to continue our generation. Life is not easy for anyone, but it is a fact that we, working women, have a double responsibility, both for home and for work. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

However, we keep moving forward.

I find it very valuable that women take a more active part in business life and rise to the top of the career ladder. I am proud and inspired by every sister I meet and the variety of positions and careers they hold. At this point, we all have a role to play, both professionally, on an individual level, and in society. On a personal note, even the effort to shape the gender-blind parenting of our children is  a huge step. For this reason, I believe it is our responsibility to create solutions for a better world.

Who could stop Afife Jale, who overcame obstacles with her love of the theatre; Marie Curie, whose courage conquered radiation;  Sabiha Gökçen, the world's first female fighter pilot; Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space; or Burçin Mutlu Pakdil, who discovered the galaxy and had it named after her, and innumerable women who achieved countless successes in uncountable fields?

First, we must trust ourselves. Further, we must believe in our strength and our victory. There is no limit to what we can achieve as women. Remember, we can do whatever we want. We can swim in the deepest waters, climb the highest peak. We are strong, beautiful, compassionate, loving, merciful…

but we are so much more than words can express!

Congratulations to all my sisters on March 8, International Day of Women.

Özlem Caymaz
Author

I was born and raised in Borusan, and have been living in Ankara since my university days. I studied business administration at ODTÜ. I am a mother of 2 children. If not for my current job, I would like to become a doctor. I believe that the meaning of life is to benefit my loved ones and all people.

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