Sabancı University Gender and Women's Studies Center of Excellence/ SU Gender organized a series of events spreading throughout March as part of the 8th of March International Women’s Day. Within the scope of these activities, titled “Gendered Perspectives to Health, Body, Sexuality”, international conferences, panels, and film screenings were held, in addition to the feminist trivia, which is organized every year. Additionally, messages gathered from Sabancı University members for the 8th of March were disseminated visually.
The events began with Rebecca Jordan-Young’s (Barnard College, Columbia University) speech at the campus on March 1. Young, a neuroscientist, criticized the neuroscientific research from a gendered perspective in her speech entitled “Ungendering the Brain: Feminist Contributions to Neuroscience”.
Rebecca Jordan-Young also delivered a speech on Saturday, March 4, at Karaköy Minerva Han, entitled “Finding Sex in the Body: from what/where is sex, to when is sex”. In her speech, organized by the cooperation of Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, and moderated by Alev Özkazanç, Young stated that the concepts regarding sex are limited and categorizing, thus inadequate. She also stated that we can evaluate the body organs and hormones that are related to sex according to time or function, and define sex in this way.
Like every year, Feminist Trivia was held on campus on the 8th of March. The knowledge contest was held at the University Center. Both employees and students participated in the trivia, which contains information on “History of Women’s and LGBTI’s Struggle” in 15 questions. After the questions were asked, the answer sheets were collected and evaluated, and the correct answers were discussed altogether. After the trivia, which lasted about an hour, those who marked the most correct answers were awarded.
The first panel in the scope of March 2017 Events Series was organized on March 8 at the campus. Moderated by İlker Birbil from Sabancı University, the panel included speeches by Gülhan Erkaya Balsoy from İstanbul Bilgi University, entitled “Historical Perspectives on Women’s Health”; Ayşecan Terzioğlu from Sabancı University, entitled “Medicalization and Women in the Population Policies in Turkey”; and Tuba Demirci from Kemerburgaz University, entitled “Bodies that do not Matter for the History and the State: Women’s Body and Social Policy in Postpartum and Menopause Periods”. In the presentations, approaching the subject from the framework of history and anthropology, issues of population policies from the times of Ottoman Empire until today, women’s bodies, birth, puerperium and menopause were discussed.
The second panel was held in Karaköy Minerva Palas on Friday, March 10. Moderated by Ayşecan Terzioğlu from Sabancı University. The panel included presentations by Seven Kaptan from the Sexual Education Therapy and Research Center (CETAD), entitled “Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Women’s Sexuality: Obstacles to Heteronormativity”; Elif Avcı from Şişli Municipality’s Social Equality Unit, entitled “Health Service Practices for Women and LGBTIs”; and Assoc. Prof. Maral Erol from Işık University, entitled “Middle- and Post-Middle Age Sexuality and Gender Roles in Turkey”. While the issues of health, body, and sexuality were discussed in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation, the discussion section was shaped by the questions and comments of the participants.
The first film-screening and discussion-based activity took place on March 13 at Karaköy Minerva Han with the participation of Başak Tuğ and Feyza Akınerdem. Following the screening of the documentary “Talak” (Divorce), which was about divorce cases in Iran, the speakers made short presentations, and answered the questions from the participants. The second event with the same theme was held on March 21 with the screening of the documentary “Gender Revolution” by National Geographic. After the screening, a discussion was held by panel speakers İlksen Gürsoy, Sema Semih, and Şevval Kılıç on the topics that the documentary touches upon, revolving around the comments and questions from the participants.