You are here

Gender Equality

Situation in Turkey

Over many years despite the great efforts shown by governments, institutions and most importantly by women's movement, women and girls are still exposed to violence, being abused, trafficked, their access to education and political participation is refused and face with many other human rights violations.

Though there had been a progress on the elimination of gender inequality in Turkey especially after the beginning of 2000, the statistics still reflect the grim reality. According to the Gender Gap Index (2015) of World Economic Forum, Turkey is the130th country out of 145 countries. In other words Turkey which is the 17th biggest economy in the world is the 15th last country in terms of gender equality.

Only 15% of the MPs are women (November 2015 elections).  This was not so different before the last elections and despite several efforts the figures are far from equality in terms of representation.

As in many other aspects of life gender inequality persists also in the labor market. Labor force participation rate of women is 30% and 70% for men (TurkStat Labor Statistics 2015). Unemployment rate of men is 9.7% and 13% for women.

The fact of violence against women as a concept emerged through gender inequality is widespread in Turkey as in the rest of the world. Every 4 women out of 10 is exposed to physical and sexual violence at least once in their lifetime as stated in the Domestic Violence Research in Turkey in 2014 (In 2008 the exact figure was 42% and in 2014 it was 38% - meaning there is no significant difference). These figures show the scale of the problem and call for immediate action. A UNFPA survey titled “Business against Domestic Violence” indicates high prevalence (32 per cent) of sexual and physical violence among white collar working women and the absence of response mechanisms within the private sector.

As a recent picture, according to the research of BİANET (Independent Communication Network) on the number of femicides reflected in the media, in 2014 281, in 2015 284 and till July 2016 153 women were killed by their husbands or immediate partners. This means that approximately one woman was murdered in every 30 hours.

UNFPA’s response

UNFPA has been implementing programmes in collaboration with the national and local Government Institutions (Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Turkish Armed Forces, Presidency of Religious Affairs etc), Non-Governmental Organisations, Universities and Private Sector for promoting gender equality, combating gender based violence and engaging men and boys to promote gender equality mainly through awareness raising, data collection, and capacity development.

UNFPA will be implementing the sixth country programme between 2016-2020 and under the gender component it is aimed to strengthen the institutional capacity of public and civil society organizations to promote gender equality, prevent gender based violence and harmful practices, including in the private sector. This aim will be achieved in partnership with civil society organizations and universities through advocacy, policy dialogue and technical assistance on:

a) rights-based legislation, policies, including local equality action plans and standard operating procedures for provision of women friendly services;

b) improved services via strengthening of pre/in service training programmes for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of sexual and gender based violence; 

c) establishment of a coordination mechanism among responsible government agencies including local authorities on sexual and gender based violence response;

d) strengthening advocacy capacity of women’s non-governmental organizations on gender issues and monitoring of national and international obligations regarding women’s rights and reproductive rights;

e) establishment of mechanisms for promoting gender equality and eliminating gender based violence in private sector;

f) promoting gender transformation and engagement of youth, men and boys to address gender inequality, in partnership with civil society and faith based organizations;

g) data analysis on women’s issues.