Report shows inequality between sexes in Turkey

Report shows inequality between sexes in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Report shows inequality between sexes in Turkey

Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin says Turkey needs to raise its women employment rates in order to reach international levels of development. AA photo

The World Bank’s 2012 Gender Equality and Development Report has shown there is a major gap between men’s and women’s labor force participation rates in Turkey.

The World Bank yesterday announced its 2012 report, which focuses on education, health and employment. While the world average of female participation to labor force is almost 60 percent, in Turkey it is less than 30 percent on average.

“Women’s participation in the labor force is one of our weakest areas. As long as we cannot change the employment rates, which are 70 percent for males and 30 percent for females, it seems difficult to reach international levels of development,” Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin said during her speech at the release of the report.

“We have to ease work life for women by opening new kindergartens for their children and centers for their elderly relatives who at the moment they are looking after,” Şahin said. She said the most important aspect for preventing such inequality was to make positive discrimination between women and men.

Agriculture and service
Other areas highlighted in the World Bank report showed while more than 45 percent of women in the work force work in the service industry, almost 40 percent of women work in agricultural fields in Turkey.

The report also revealed Turkey as ranking ninth lowest out of 28 European and Central Asian countries when it comes to business activities for women.

“It is now high time to be equals and behave equitably,” said Ulrich Zachau, the Turkish branch director of the World Bank.

“The wellbeing of women is especially important in the fields of health and education. Turkey has attained its developmental goals in these areas. There are shortcomings in Turkey both in terms of access to economic opportunities and employment. As the World Bank, we also support progress in these areas,” he said. Increasing female employment is going to benefit both sexes, he said, and the World Bank’s report for the current year placed the issue of gender equality as one of its main priorities. “We want to resolve the issue of gender equality in both Turkey and the world to overcome intertwined problems,” Zachau said.

The author of the 2012 World Development Report Ana Revenga said they were seeing progress in education in Turkey. Economic growth has had the effect of strengthening access to education, she said, and this directly affected the education of women.

Three women protested the World Bank report during Minister Şahin’s speech, but they were removed by security guards.