Leadership and political participation

Women leaders from political parties and civil society organizations at the Experience Sharing Workshop. Photo: UN Women/Ender Baykuş
Women leaders from political parties and civil society organizations at the Experience Sharing Workshop. Photo: UN Women/Ender Baykuş

Despite laws to improve legal gender equality mechanisms, women across Turkey face continued challenges in accessing leadership roles and participating in politics. Women in Turkey are under-represented in decision-making, particularly in politics where their share remains below international benchmarks at all levels.

After Turkey’s June 2018 national elections, only 17.32 per cent of deputies in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) were women – well below the global average of 25 per cent. Women are even more under-represented in local politics: After the 2019 local elections, women make up 2.95 per cent of mayors, 11 per cent of municipal council members and 2.16 per cent of muhktars (village heads).[1]

UN Women’s top priority in Turkey is increasing women’s political engagement, particularly at the critical local level. We do this by supporting Government efforts to meet Turkey’s commitment to gender equality and by promoting gender-responsive plans and budgets.

Since beginning work in Turkey in 2011, UN Women has provided expert support to the Government and civil society to:

  • Strengthen women’s political leadership and participation;
  • Increase the number of women elected to political positions;
  • Fulfil Turkey’s national and international gender equality commitments and enact laws and strategies to meet its obligations deriving from these commitments.

UN Women in Action in Turkey

From 2011 to 2014, UN Women – working with UNDP – actively supported Turkish women’s leadership and political participation through the UN Joint Programme on Fostering an Enabling Environment for Gender Equality in Turkey (UNJP). Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), UNJP:

  • Improved national gender institutions’ capacity to deliver on gender equality commitments;
  • Strengthened gender mainstreaming for legislation by assessing Turkey’s laws to assess their implications for both women and men;
  • Supported advocacy work by women’s civil society organisations and networks to promote gender equality and minimize gender stereotypes in employment and political participation.

To increase women’s leadership and participation in Turkish politics and decision-making, UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) launched the Gender Equality in Political Leadership and Participation in Turkey project, funded by Sweden through SIDA. Working closely with Turkey’s TGNA from 2014 to 2018, the Project resulted in:

  • Recommendations to improve 31 laws following reviews from a gender equality perspective;
  • Better engagement by women’s networks with the TGNA’s Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men (EOC) through regional conferences;
  • The development of tools to support gender-responsive budgeting.

The Gender Equality in Political Leadership and Participation in Turkey project continues to:

  • Advocate for frameworks and policies to advance gender equality and women’s right to participate in decision-making;
  • Use gender-responsive budgeting to promote women’s leadership and political participation;
  • Strengthening the gender equality capacities of local elected women and local candidates so they more active in local politics;
  • Ensure that gender equality advocates influence frameworks and policies that increase women’s leadership and political participation.

For more information on UN Women’s work in political leadership and participation in Turkey, check out our brochure, Gender Equality in Political Leadership and Participation in Turkey project.

 


[1]Kadın Adayları Destekleme Derneği, http://ka-der.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/KA.DER_Sivil-Dusun_Kitapcik.pdf