Women still suffer from discrimination and violence
08 March 2012Women in Turkey are still suffering from violence, poor education and discrimination in the workplace
The Association for Education and Supporting Women Candidates (KA-DER) has kept track of the number of women in public offices for the last five years. According to statistics compiled by the association, things have not changed much in recent years.
In a campaign they run prior to the June 12 elections last year, they asked for 50 percent representation in Parliament, but the percentage of women who entered Parliament remained at only 14.2 percent. This is a small increase from 9.1 percent female lawmakers in Parliament in 2007. Moreover, out of 26 ministers in Turkey's cabinet there is only one woman, Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin.
In other administrative public offices, the situation is also bleak: Only 26 female mayors out of 2,924; 65 village heads out of 34,210; one female governor out of 81; five female rectors out of 103 and 21 female ambassadors out of 185. There are no female undersecretaries and no female members at the Supreme Court of Appeals, Court of Accounts or the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.
In a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and all lawmakers in Parliament, 237 women’s groups under the umbrella of the Platform to End Violence (Şiddete Son Platformu), wrote:
“We are objecting to the fact that the law’s name has been changed to protect family, not women; that the centers which are supposed to work on a 7/24 hour basis have not been organized in a way that women’s groups demanded, which would help women to access support under one roof once they face violence; that the law does not refer to women’s shelters and sexual violence crisis centers; and that women’s organizations are not allowed to take part as co-plaintiffs in important violence cases. And we demand that changes be made accordingly.”
This was in reference to the “Draft law to protect women and individual family members from violence,” on which women’s rights groups have worked tirelessly with Şahin, particularly since September last year. The law came to Parliament on March 7 with its name changed to the “Draft law to protect family and prevent violence against women.”
As far as women’s participation in the labor force statistics are not promising: Only 6.7 million women are employed in Turkey (24 percent), a figure that places Turkey 101st out of 109 countries.
Presenting the World Bank’s 2012 Gender Equality Report in İstanbul in December last year, Minister Şahin said that much needs to be done to raise gender equality in Turkey. Education, the minister said, is the key to improving gender equality.
KSSGM statistics show that nearly 4 million women in Turkey cannot read or write despite recent initiatives to fight illiteracy among women. According to the report, the illiteracy rate increases with age, from cities to rural areas and from west to east. However, the report underscores, illiteracy is more widespread among women then men.
A World Economic Forum (WEF) report also indicated that Turkey ranked 129th out of 134 countries in terms of dividing its resources and opportunities among men and women. According to the organization Social Watch, Turkey has regressed precipitously since 2004 in terms of gender equality.
The percentage of child marriages in Turkey -- marriages in which one spouse is underage -- is 14 percent, a study by the International Strategic Research Agency (USAK) found in a report released last year in November. Turkey has the second highest rate of early marriage among European countries, according to the USAK survey, following Georgia, where 17 percent of marriages are underage.
The report found that an estimated 10 to 12 million girls are forced into marriage at an early age every year in the developing world. In Turkey one out of every three women was married as a child.
ANF / NEWS DESK
ANF NEWS AGENCY