ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Turkish women constitute only a quarter of the country’s 27 million-strong working population, new figures have shown, prompting calls for a change in social attitudes.
According to a nationwide report released in Istanbul, just over 25 percent of the workforce is female and many women have experienced discrimination and unfair treatment compared to male colleagues.
The findings are based on a survey conducted across Turkey by POLLMARK and published by the Women and Democracy Association, an NGO based in Istanbul.
The report, entitled “Insight into the Socioeconomic, Political and Cultural Situation of Women in Turkey,” has led some female campaigners to criticize existing attitudes in Turkey toward women in the workplace.
A founding member of the Intellectual Perspective Association, Sema Gül, said the problem was not only the poor status of working women but the domestic values Turkish society demands of women.
“The perspective toward women in society should be changed. Their value at home, school, the political area and daily life should be enhanced,” she said.
With the report finding that an overwhelming majority of women – almost 90 percent – are employed in the private sector, the president of the Woman Entrepreneurs’ Association of Turkey said the rate of working women in Turkey was too low, declaring it a loss for the Turkish economy.
“It means we are not making use of the female workforce in Turkey. Only 7 million women work in Turkey. There are many reasons behind this low rate; women are not encouraged or helped to participate in working life,” Gülden Türktan said.
“The Turkish government should help to pay for childcare for working women” she added. The Family and Social Policy Ministry was unavailable for comment.
The report, which surveyed over 5,000 women across 13 regions, also examined women’s attitude toward marriage and divorce, education, and political and religious views.