Post-poll picture doesn’t leave us much room for action
A study carried out by the poll company KONDA in 2011 for the Organization for Supporting and Training Female Candidates (Ka-Der) was “promising.”
In the survey entitled “Women’s Representation in Politics,” some 86 percent of the 5,434 respondents across 36 provinces in Turkey said they thought “women should have equal opportunities as men in every area of life.”
Around seven percent of the respondents said they stood completely against such an idea.
Around 72 percent of the respondents said they supported a world in which “more women are in administrative positions.”
Again, around 72 percent said they did not see a difference between women and men holding offices in the interior or defense ministries or taking the seat of the parliament speaker.
All in all, this survey painted a picture saying a majority of Turkey’s society was not troubled by the idea of an increased female presence in the country’s politics and the number of women representing. It also showed they were in favor of a world in which more women hold administrative positions.
When women first took part in elections in Turkey in 1935, the number of female representatives — 18 — made up 4.5 percent of the total population.
This number stood as a “giant record” until the late 1990s.
By the time Turkey had moved to a multiparty system in the 1950s, the percentage of women in parliament had fallen to as low as 0.61.
In 1995, women made up 1.8 percent of parliament — still making up half of the country’s population.
In the millennium, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) helped increase female presence in Turkish politics and paved a wider way for women.
At this point, there would be many people who say, “In a political environment dominated by leadership, why does it matter if there’s a woman or a man in power?”
And they might be right to a certain extent.
But it is important to understand that even in the harshest of political climates, women stand in favor of dialogue and the use of a constructive attitude and a civilized tone.
Well, what does the picture today tell us?
In the lead up to the June 24 parliamentary elections, only 931 women were hopefuls out of 4,200 candidates. Only five percent of these women were running in first place in lists.
As a result, one in six members of parliament are female, a drop from one in four MPs being female.
This is happening at a time when the number of lawmakers went up to 600 from 550…
The AKP increased its previous number of 34 women holding seats to 53, while the HDP saw a rise to 25 female lawmakers from 17 previously. The number of MHP’s female representatives went up to five from three.
The recently-founded İYİ (Good) Party brought three women lawmakers in the elections, while the number of women representatives holding seats from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) decreased to 18 from 19.
There will be a total of 104 women lawmakers representing a society that is 50 percent women, half of whom are younger than 30.
Also, 51 percent of the voters are female.
Looking at this, it is a no-brainer to see that the current female representation is insufficient.
I will stand my ground and defend the notion that in a political climate dominated by a harsh tone, it is women who can make things more bearable by adding a spice of civilization.
However, if someone says, “The first thing a woman MP demanded was for the state to bring the death penalty back,” I will say there is not much to do.
The post-poll picture doesn’t leave us much room for action.