Only three out of 111 state university rectors are women in Turkey

Only three out of 111 state university rectors are women in Turkey

ISTANBUL
Only three out of 111 state university rectors are women in Turkey

Only three state universities in Turkey have women rectors, despite women making up 43.58 percent of all academics in the country, daily Habertürk reported on Jan. 9.

The number of women rectors is a small drop from only six five years ago, the daily said, which gathered data from the universities’ websites.

The current female rectors are Prof. Dr. Nigar Demircan Çakar of Düzce University in the western province of Düzce and Prof. Dr. Bedriye Tunçsiper of İzmir Democracy University in the western province of İzmir. Prof. Dr. Güler Alkan, on the other hand, is the acting rector of Yalova University in the western province of Yalova. These three women make up only 2.7 percent of all state university rectors in the country.

According to the 2016-2017 data of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), 12 universities do not have any female professors and seven do not have any female associate professors.

Among 104 state universities, only 23 have female rector assistants, according to their websites. The remaining 81 universities do not have any information on their websites indicating whether or not they have female rector assistants.

Among the 208 rector assistants in a total of 104 universities, only 27 of them are female, corresponding to 9.28 percent of the overall figure. But this figure was 11.33 percent five years ago. They contradict a previous call by YÖK head Yekta Saraç who said universities should have at least one female rector assistant in their cadres.

Of the 47 university general secretaries with an academic background, only two are women. Of the 60 who have taken on the general secretary posts as the administrative staff of the university, only five - 8.3 percent - are women.

Universities that have female rector assistants are mostly located in the country’s west, whose foundations predate the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup, which led massive purges in universities and a broad restructuring of the education system.

Universities located in the country’s southeastern, eastern and Black Sea regions are worse, compared to other regions, in terms of the presence of women in academia, including the number of those who are rector assistants and general secretaries with an academic background.

In 100 universities whose websites provide information regarding boards of directors, of the 1,483 academics given a spot within their boards of directors, only 205 are women, corresponding to a mere 13.82 percent.

According to education specialist Alaaddin Dinçer, the absence of women among universities’ boards of directors is the result of a “consciously made decision.”

“The necessary changes in the legislation in an aim to sustain gender equality in universities should be undertaken by getting rid of gender discriminatory language, in a wholesome approach. The universities with two or three assistant rectors should have at least one female assistant rector, whereas those with four or five should have at least two. In the mid-term, the participation of women in the [university] senate and board of directors should be at least 40 percent,” Dinçer said.

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