Ending violence against women

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Turkey signed the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence on 11 May 2011 and on 14 March 2012 was the first country to ratify it.

In spite of international agreements, legislative improvements and policy measures, more effort is needed to end violence against women in Turkey. Patriarchal attitudes, cultural and social practices, gender inequality and stereotypes perpetuate substantial discrimination and violence. Women in Turkey are not only exposed to violence but also suffer from early marriages, sexual harassment, discrimination in the workplace and limits to their education.

According to a 2014 research project on violence against women by Hacettepe University’s Institute of Population Studies, with support from Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Directorate General on the Status of Women:

  • 4 of 10 women in Turkey are exposed to physical or sexual violence;
  • 3 of 10 women in Turkey are married before they turn 18;
  • 48 per cent of girls in Turkey married before the age of 18 are exposed to physical violence;
  • One third of girls in Turkey are not allowed to go to school by their families;
  • 11 per cent of women in Turkey are prevented from working by their families;
  • Only 1 of 10 women in Turkey exposed to violence apply to an institution for help;
  • 90 per cent of human trafficking victims in Turkey are women.

 UN Women in Turkey works to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls by partnering with governments, UN agencies and civil society organizations, running awareness campaigns and initiating programs to change attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women and girls.

UN Women in action in Turkey

Every year, UN Women leads the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women in Turkey. During its 16 Days of Activism, from International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 to Human Rights Day on 10 December, the campaign calls all to take action to end violence against women and girls.

The UN Women Turkey Office is part of the EU – UN Women programme Implementing Norms, Changing Minds, which is a regional initiative to end violence against women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Begun in 2017 and funded by the European Union, the programme will work to:

  • Bring policies and legislation in line with international standards;
  • Strengthen women’s organizations to prevent discrimination and violence against women;
  • Improve services to women and girls, particularly the most disadvantaged, who have experienced discrimination or violence.