Women for Women’s Human Rights

Founded in 1993, Women for Women’s Human Rights-New Ways (WWHR) seeks to enable women's active participation as equal citizens in local, national, regional and international processes of social change and undertakes advocacy efforts to promote women’s human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination.

WWHR has played a central role in influencing law reforms in Turkey: In 1998, it led a campaign for a protection order law against domestic violence. In 2001, WWHR co-coordinated the Turkish Civil Code Campaign so that the law recognized women's equal rights in marriage. Most recently, WWHR initiated and coordinated the Campaign for the Turkish Penal Code Reform. Despite the conservative government in power, the campaign resulted in a landmark reform safeguarding women’s sexual rights and effectively criminalizing sexual violence.

Since 1995, WWHR has been implementing the Human Rights Education Program for Women (HREP) on a continuous basis throughout Turkey. HREP, internationally recognized as a “best tactic” in promoting human rights, is the most sustainable, widespread and comprehensive non-formal human rights education program in the world. The program has catalyzed the emergence of 15 grassroots women’s organizations in the most disadvantaged areas of Turkey. Based on women’s real life stories in HREP, WWHR produced “The Purple Series”, the first documentary television show on women’s human rights in Turkey that was broadcasted on national television in 2006.

WWHR has strategically developed a multi-pronged holistic approach in its programming by linking local, national, regional and international levels. It has been actively partaking in UN processes and has served on numerous government and NGO delegations lobbying successfully for the advancement of women’s and girls’ human rights.In WWHR’s experience; taboos and the control of women’s sexuality lies at the core of many human rights violations, infringing on fundamental rights and freedoms such as health, education and mobility, hindering equal participation in social, economic and political spheres. Having worked on sexuality for over a decade and compiled various texts on women’s sexuality, Pinar Ilkkaracan edited an anthology entitled Women and Sexuality in Muslim Societies, which was published by WWHR. This compilation brought together writings by female researchers, academics, activists, poets, journalists and cartoonists from various Muslim societies. The volume demonstrates that the sexual oppression of Muslim women is not the result of an "Islamic" vision of sexuality, but rather a combination of political, social and economic inequalities with complex historical antecedents. The book has been acclaimed worldwide and continues to be used as a resource across the world. It is available in English, Turkish and Arabic through WWHR's website. The success of the volume has also been an inspiration to initiate the solidarity network, the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR).