120,000 women leave work annually to care for children, elderly relatives in Turkey

120,000 women leave work annually to care for children, elderly relatives in Turkey

120,000 women leave work annually to care for children, elderly relatives in Turkey

Nearly 120,000 women need to leave their jobs to take care of their children or elderly family members on an annual basis in Turkey, according to a study by the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TÜRKONFED).

In addition, up to 1.3 million women were not able to join the workforce as a result of childcare duties as of 2016, according to the report, which was announced on March 7 in Istanbul to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

TÜRKONFED’s third “Report on Women in the Business World” has also found that a woman laborer spends an average of 3.5 hours on family care and house-work after she comes back home from work.

While women’s participation in Turkey’s workforce rose from 23 percent in 2007 to 32.4 percent in 2016, it remained well below the European average, which stands at 51.6 percent, according to the report.

While women earn less than men, the tax burden on their shoulders is the same as their male counterparts, it added.

Some 45.6 percent of women are paid 12 percent less than men, the TÜRKONFED report prepared by Professors Oğuz Karadeniz and Hakkı Hakan Yılmaz has found.

“In order to achieve an advanced economy and democracy, a country must raise women’s employment, take measures to end violence against women and empower women’s status. Whenever women strengthen, societies become stronger,” TÜRKONFED President Kadooğlu said at a press event to launch the report results.

More than $12 trillion can be added to the global economy if gender equality is enhanced by 2025, he said.

“Policies are urgently needed to enable women to participate more in political, business and social life,” he also said.

TÜRKONFED’s Women in the Business World (İDK) Committee President Prof. Yasemin Açık said the number of women who do not know how to read and write was five times higher than men.

“The higher education women get, the more participation they achieve in the work force. While the labor force participation among illiterate women is just 16 percent, it hits 71 percent among higher education graduate women,” she said, adding that the higher number of women a company hires, the higher revenue it gets.

Social security programs must be formalized to create more space for women to keep continuing their professional work life and carry out their caretaking responsibilities in their private lives, according to the report.

Higher premium incentives must also be ensured for industries in which labor costs and unregistered labor levels are high, the report has also recommended.