Gender equality in Türkiye

Oh dear.  It seems that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has gone and put his foot in it again while attending at the Women and Justice Summit in Istanbul on Monday.  While addressing this conference he reminded us all that you cannot put men and women on an equal footing as women are not equal.  “It is against nature,” he said.  “They were created differently.  Their nature is different.  Their constitution is different.”  He went on to talk about how you cannot compare a breastfeeding woman to a man as well as attacking feminism and feminists claiming that they “reject the concept of motherhood.”  Jeeze!

erdogan 2

As a woman I can be outraged at the polarising statement made by the Turkish President and when I start to look at women’s rights in Türkiye I realise that Erdoğan’s statement really is only the tip of the iceberg of inequality here. At the conference Erdoğan went on to state that only a small percentage of women actually had legal employment in Türkiye however there was a very large uncounted percentage of women who worked on the land while the men “played cards”.  People (including his daughter Sumeyye) cheered Erdogan at this point.  “Yes it is true!  The women DO do all the work!”  Erdogan nodded smiling at his constituents no doubt believing that he is all goodness and generosity with his words and time.

Sure it is true but let me tell you what else is true for women here in Türkiye.  It is estimated that 40% of women have suffered from domestic violence in Türkiye.  I suspect that this estimate is actually a lot higher but reporting is frowned upon.  It is merely a case of boys being boys.

How about the number of women murdered by family members here in Turkey?  In 2009 the number was 3 women a day (I do not have the 2014 figure).

How about we discuss the number of underage weddings that take place here in Türkiye each year?  Should I mention that Erdoğan’s Presidential predecessor Abdullah Gul married his wife when she was merely 15 years old?

Finally should I remind you that Erdoğan has attempted to outlaw abortion, the morning after pill and limit caesarean sections and at that same speech given in Istanbul on 24 November reminded women that they should have three or more children for the sake of the economy.  Hello?  What about the health, safety and the sanity of the woman giving birth to these children?  And how about the continual welfare of the children who grow up in rural Türkiye when their family cannot support the children that they already have.

I read a statement issued by CHP Women’s Branch on 25 November that sums up the current policies that contribute to violence and behaviour of women in Turkiye.  “As long as women are not free, as long as they are not adequately represented in the decision making mechanism, this society will not move forward”.  Nice one.

Have a read of this piece posted on my Facebook page by fellow blogger Kerry from Earth Laughs in Flowers.  The piece written by Aslihan Agaglu reminds us that women in Türkiye have long had strong women to look up to.  Türkiye was at the forefront of women’s rights under the strong leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  Turkish women have long had the right to vote and, rightly so, the right to voice their opinion.  Someone simply needs to remind Erdoğan of these rights as I think he has forgotten.


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7 thoughts on “Gender equality in Türkiye

  1. While I agree that men and women are not equal – the rest of his statement is talking out of his backside!!! We weren’t made equal, as women, by our very nature, have more crap to deal with than any man! I had my son here in a government hospital and ‘delicate’ it certainly was not!!!!! A ‘delicate’ woman does not give birth – like to see a man push a watermelon through a small hole ‘delicately’! As women we are mentally stronger and tougher than men (I know I’m generalising but I live in Turkey!!). I look around me and I see strong, independent women behind every married man (the men probably think differently!). Attitudes here are slowly changing, but as always progress is slow! As a mother of 3 girls and 1 boy it is my job to help change these attitudes by teaching them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description reminds me of the USA in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, even though women in the USA have succeeded in employment breakthroughs, many still go home to men expecting them to make dinner and do all the housework and child care while they’re home. I’m fortunate that my husband isn’t like that, but so many women I know have husbands that are. And then these husbands complain that the house is dirty!

    Hard fought rights for women are as easily lost as when the Shah of Iran was deposed. Quite literally, overnight. In the 1950’s, going to Egypt looked a lot like being in a Western country. Now look at it.

    Keep fighting, but also consider having your daughter learn self-defense. If she’s going to live the remainder of her life in Turkey, she’ll probably need it. 🙂


    • Daughter did karate back in Sydney and definitely can already throw a punch lol. I have often said that Turkey reminds me of Australia in the 1970’s. Women are slowly gaining independence but full accepance and equality is still some time away (and certainly not during the current political policies)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having worked for the police preparing cases to go to court in England, as a woman learning to defend yourself is a must no matter where you live! My girls are aged 9, 6 and 4 and they all know what to do, god forbid, if anyone tries anything – not that we leave them on their own long enough. When we arrived in Batman 3 years ago, my brother in law told me that Turkey was like western countries but about 30 or 40 years ago…this statement is oh so true!


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