Power to women under Turkey’s new action plan

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The government conducts and will carry out projects to empower Turkish women whose rights and access to employment are often overlooked in male-dominated society.

In his party’s manifesto ahead of the June 24 elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pledged to end “every tradition of the age of ignorance targeting women.” The Ministry of Family and Social Justice already works to empower women with projects to improve gender equality for women, which have lagged behind men in every field, courtesy of a patriarchal mindset.

The ministry’s projects cover everything from increasing female employment to the fight against underage, forced marriages. One ambition for the government is to take the schooling rate for girls from 91.2 percent to 100 percent. Through a string of campaigns, girls and uneducated women will be encouraged to enroll in schools and literacy classes. The government will increase monitoring of families not enrolling their daughters in schools and will maintain monthly allowances for low-income families for every child in school. Girls’ schooling rate is especially low in rural, impoverished areas often due to economic reasons where girls join the agricultural labor force at an early age.

Increasing the women’s workforce is another primary concern for the government. It managed to bring it to 33.6 percent last year, from 23.3 percent in 2005, through a set of incentives for working women, from longer maternity leaves to financial support for daycare needs for working mothers, as well as payments to grandparents caring for their grandchildren with working parents. The government set the bar higher to increase the employment rate to at least to 41 percent in the near future and decrease illegal labor by women to at least 30 percent. As for female entrepreneurs, the government plans to extend loans to more women willing to set up their own business. Women are already provided up to TL 50,000 ($11,588) for loans.

Women will also have a greater say in politics with the lofty ambition of increasing the rate of female lawmakers in Parliament to above 14.73 percent. The government also plans to install more women in local administrations, university administrations and in the public sector in general.





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