Latest publication: An overview of Kurdish women’s struggles in the UK

Roj Women has made it again. Another year of hard work and achievements. A new membership scheme and on-going employability services, more lobbying in international forums for women’s rights and an open invitation to participate in a research project about the Kurdish Women’s Movement are some of the issues you will find in our latest Activity Report 2013-2014.


A quick overview of Roj's work over the past year

A quick overview of Roj’s work over the past year

Roj’s action research project is building on existing literature with a view to contribute to the current review of the Kurdish women’s liberation movement’s praxis, both in Turkey and in Europe, where hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people now live in Diaspora.
By engaging practitioners based in their countries of origin and in the Dias-pora the study will benefit from the different experiences and expertises de-veloped as a result of their location. It is also a way of contrasting the differ-ences between the Kurdish women’s liberation movement practiced in Kurdi-stan and abroad.
Ultimately, the goal of this project is to build and transform the movement through collective learning and action research, as its findings will reach and feed the praxis of numerous activists, and of course, to publicize the struggle of the Kurdish women’s liberation movement.
Practitioners and activists are invited to join the online discussion forum that will take place in late May 2014, where the preliminary findings of the re-search will be put to test! Have something to say? Email us to to join.


An evening with women human rights defender Eren Keskin

Roj Women invites you to a panel discussion with one of the most prominent defenders of Kurdish and Turkish women human rights: Eren Keskin. Come and join the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Global Campaign!

Eren Keskin was one of the tens of women human rights defenders Roj Women interviewed as part of our research work on violence encountered by these advocates in Turkey (read the final publication ‘A woman’s struggle‘). Her tireless work has thrown light on the pervasive and widespread violence women endure under custody.


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If you are unemployed we can help you

Roj Women’s Association works to empower Kurdish women who have migrated to London and has a wealth of expertise in community development, gender and ethnic minorities’ issues and service provision

With financial support from the Big Lottery Fund and the London Borough of Hackney Council we offer free one to one tailored job advice and support for the unemployed. Sessions can be booked at flexible times and they include:

– Assistance with CV and application forms writing and interview preparation

– Career guidance

– Identification of appropriate work placements and job vacancies

– Identification of training opportunities and assistance to enrol in and complete the course

– Group trainings, and more.

Email us to virginia[at] to find out how we can help you and to book an appointment. We are looking forward to hearing from you!


Roj Women thanks the Big Lottery Fund and the Hackney Council for their invaluable support:


Women in Turkey reject anti-abortion policy

Women in Turkey demand the process to ban abortion be ceased immediatelyTo support their campaign please sign this petition:

Prime Minister Erdogan’s statements in the last week of May 2012 have revealed that plans to ban abortion have been underway for some time now. Experience from the global arena illustrates that this lethal attempt, which has no scientific backing, will not reduce abortion rates; instead it will only lead to unsafe abortions and increase maternal mortality.

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Diyarbakir (South East Turkey) municipality to help women selling their products

In its continue work to help creating alternative jobs for women, Sur Municipality of Diyarbakir has been preparing a project of selling hand-made pickles by women to markets and grocers.

Source: ANF

Sur Mayor Abdullah Demirbaş, speaking to bianet about the municipality’s former and current projects for the employment of women, said that they aimed at creating an alternative economic power, so to say, to teach people how to catch a fish instead of giving them a fish.

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UN raises concerns about disparities in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights between men and women and between regions in Turkey

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which reviewed Turkey in May 2011, has recently produced its Concluding Observations. Roj Women’s Association welcomes the support of the Committee to our key demands, reflected throughout the document. The following are the most remarkable points in it:

1) Turkey is called to adopt a general law on non-discrimination,

2) There is concern about the absence of a legislative framework for the recognition of minorities, including the Kurds, and about the denial of their rights.

3) Significant disparities between regions in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights as well as a concentration of the incidence of high poverty in the eastern regions, are noted. For example, while the national average for women’s participation in the labour market is 22%, this figure drops to 6% for southeastern regions of Turkey.

4) Concern that women’s working conditions have worsened in recent times with many of them forced to seek employment in the informal economy (66% of working women in 2006) is expressed. The Committee requests Turkey to review its social security schemes to ensure that workers, in particular women, in the informal economy are also covered.

5) Alarm at the very high incidence of violence against women. The Committee calls Turkey to criminalize domestic violence, strictly enforce relevant laws, increase the number of shelters, and monitor the discharge by relevant public officials of their responsibilities when dealing with victims of domestic violence.

6) The Committee calls for the allocation of the necessary resources for the implementation of the National Action Plan to combat violence against women and to involve the civil society in its monitoring.

7) Maternal mortality remains high, particularly for women living in rural areas who do not have adequate access to sexual and reproductive health care (in South East maternal mortality is double than in West Turkey).

8. Lastly, Turkey is called to expand the supply of day-care services and to adopt the quota system to accelerate women’s representation in political life and in the labour market.

Despite their valuable job and their support to voice civil society’s concerns, Roj Women’s Association regrets that the Committee does not mention explicitely in its Concluding Observations the need to provide education in languages other than Turkish. For instance, Kurds are unable to be educated in their mother tongue. Thus, Kurdish girls who cannot speak Turkish face difficulties because they encounter Turkish for the first time in their lives at school, at the age of 5. The rate of illiteracy among women in Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish province, is of 56%.

Roj Women’s Association is looking forward to Turkey implementing the recommendations of the UN Committee and will monitor progress in this regard.

The full text of the Concluding Observations can be found here.

Roj’un talepleri BM raporunda


Kürt kadın heyetinin de içinde yer aldığı BM Ekonomik, Sosyal ve Kültürel Haklar Komitesi Toplantısı’nda Roj Kadın Vakfı’nın talepleri dönemli oranda rapora yansıdı,ancak Türkçe dışında diğer dillerde eğitim talebi açıkça belirtilmedi.

Source: Yeni Ozgur Politika

İngiltere’nin başkenti Londra’da faaliyet yürüten Roj Kadın Vakfı’nın Türkiye ve Kürdistan’da kadın-erkek eşitliği konusundaki önerileri, BM Komitesi’nin raporuna da yansıdı. Roj Kadın Vakfı öncülüğündeki bir heyet, geçtiğimiz Mayıs ayında Cenevre’de gerçekleşen BM Ekonomik, Sosyal ve Kültürel Haklar Komitesi’nin (ESCR) değerlendirme toplantısına katıldı. Aralarında Türkiye, Almanya, Moldova, Rusya ve Yemen’in de bulunduğu beş ülkedeki insanların sosyal, kültürel ve ekonomik haklarının değerlendirildiği toplantıda, Kürt kadın heyeti önemli noktalara dikkat çekmeyi başardı.

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Women learning to read and write in Maxmur refugee camp

The reading and writing courses by the Women’s Foundation at Maxmur Camp, where Kurdish refugees live, are attracting considerable interest. The middle-aged women participants of the courses, which have produced graduates three times before, ask for the courses to continue and say: “We want to continue our education in Kurdish”.

Source: ANF

The reading and writing course for women at Maxmur Camp have started three months ago. The course teacher Sêvê Kara, noting that the course attendees are showing more interest in reading and writing with each passing day, says: “Our women are now able to write, they can easily read and write the sentences they compose.”

While teacher Kara remarks that women want to pass a second class and continue their education, a course-attendee 60-year-old Asya says: “I will attend the course as long as it continues because I learned to read here. It is a great pleasure to come here every day with books and notebooks in my hand.”

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