The Turkish Women’s Initiative (TWI) was founded in 2008 by Sema Basol and Jeanne Nidorf. Its mission is the advancement of Turkey’s growth and prosperity by strengthening the contributions of its girls and women.

TWI develops programs and services to:

  • Promote leadership, educational opportunities, economic independence and civic engagement, thereby helping girls and women to be active, responsible and productive members of Turkish society.
  • Inspire girls and women to have confidence in their own voices, develop their leadership and life skills, and improve their ability to identify and solve problems in their lives, careers and communities.

Our motivation comes from the following trends:

  • According to an Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, 52% of Turkish women aged 15-29, neither go to school, nor work.
  • The percentage of Turkish women who work outside of their home has been steadily declining, and at around 25%, is one of the lowest in the world.
  • The percentage of university educated women who work has been decreasing and now stands at around 66%.

Our organizational values are:

  • We tailor our programs to consider regional differences. TWI also engages men, parents, families, and diverse institutions within the larger Turkish community.
  • We believe in grassroots community-based learning that incorporates the arts, sharing best practices, networking and hands-on collaboration. We also believe in the importance of mentoring.

TWI’s innovative and sustainable programs are developed in collaboration with its sister organization Degisim Liderleri Dernegi (DLD) in Turkey. DLD is primarily responsible for on-site implementation.

Little known fact: The cultivation of tulips began in Turkey in Ottoman times.
We chose the tulip to represent TWI because of its association with Turkey and its distinctive characteristics as a flower. The tulip is beautiful, strong and hardy. It is varied in its manifestations, just as are girls and women. The tulip is Turkey's national flower. Its motif is found in tile work, carpets, clothing, and other forms of Turkish art.