Anne Klein Women's Award 2015
The 2015 laureate: Nebahat Akkoc
Nebahat Akkoc, an Armenian-Alevi Kurdish woman from Diyarbakir, Turkey, received the Anne Klein Women's Award for her active resistance against state violence and domestic violence, for defending human rights and women's rights.
Her commitment is based on her own experience of violence. During her time as chairperson of the teachers' union Egitim Sen, nineteen teachers alone were murdered, including her husband in 1993. She herself was arrested and tortured several times. Nebahat Akkoc opposed this omnipresent state violence: She was the first woman from Turkey to successfully sue the country for torture before the European Court of Human Rights. But that is not enough for Nebahat Akkoc, she wants to tackle violence where it originates: In the families and in the minds.
Nebahat Akkoc founded the Turkish-Kurdish women's rights organisation Kamer (KAdin MERkezi, Women's Centre) in 1997. As part of a network of women's rights organisations and women's centres across Turkey and Europe, Kamer offers psychological and legal counselling for women, shelters and support for economic independence. Meanwhile, marital rape is a punishable offence in Turkey, legal prohibitions on approaching women after violence are applied, and "honour" killings are prosecuted with no less than ten years inprisonment. 80 % of Turkish women now no longer find violence in marriage normal. This change in consciousness is only possible through the persistent work of activists like Nebahat Akkoc. She herself says: "A woman who comes to us changes. A violent man always remains the same."
Previous award winners
Information about the Anne Klein Women's Award
In honour of Anne Klein the Heinrich Böll Foundation has created the Anne Klein Women’s Award. Anne Klein, a dedicated lawyer and openly lesbian politician, has been a pioneer of feminist causes. She served as the first feminist Women’s Senator in Berlin’s state government. The prize is annually awarded to women who have shown exemplary commitment for making gender democracy a reality. The award is endowed with 10.000 €.