Literacy gap remains between Turkish men, women
ISTANBUL - Radikal | 8/27/2010 12:00:00 AM |
Of the more than 5 million people older than 15 years of age who do not know how to read or write, 84 percent are women.
A recent study from Istanbul’s Bahçeşehir University has again illustrated the bleak picture of Turkish women’s illiteracy. Of the more than 5 million people older than 15 years of age who do not know how to read or write, 84 percent are women.
The study which was made public last July is based on data collected by the Turkish Statistical Institute, or TÜİK, in 2008. While the literacy rate is higher for 15 to 24 year-olds, there are still 406,000 young people who do not how to read and write. Illiteracy is the biggest obstacle to participating in social and economic life, argue Gökçe Uysal Kolaşin and Duygu Güner, who prepared the study. Campaigns to increase the rate of literacy should be given impetus and public institutions should be mobilized to launch similar projects in order to integrate the five and a half million people who cannot read or write into economic life, Kolaşin and Güner wrote.
The two academics, from the Bahçeşehir University’s Social and Economic Research Center, or BETAM, said that while there had been a gradual decline in the number of those who do not know how to read or write, it is still unacceptable that the number of illiterates remains in the millions this day and age. The decline in the rate of illiteracy among younger generations is a positive development, yet it does not eradicate the urgent need to teach reading and writing to illiterate adults, they argued.
Of the 5,674,000 illiterate people in Turkey, nearly 8 percent of the entire population, 4,742,000 are women and this gender disparity does not vary according to differing age groups. In other words, while the education system in Turkey has succeeded in increasing the literacy rate, the gap between men and women has not been closed.
Among 15 – 24 year-olds, 79 percent of those who do not know how to read and write are women. Illiteracy does not only negatively affect women’s place in the society, but in the family as well. The improvement of the situation of women who do not know how to read or write is not only essential for those women, but for the future of new generations as well, the study said.
Another important observation made in the study is that illiteracy plays an important role in the exclusion of women from the work force. In the 25 – 44 year-old age group, between 1,295,000 women do not know how to read and write and 83 percent of the women in this age group are unemployed. The 17 percent who do participate in the work force often work in family businesses without being paid.