Women in Turkish Society

Last Updated on July 14, 2023

Women in Turkish society play multifaceted roles, and their experiences encompass various dimensions. Here, we explore key aspects of women's lives in Turkish society.

Determination and Resilience

Turkish women are known for their unwavering determination and resilience. They exhibit remarkable dedication and courage in pursuing their goals and challenging injustices. Women's solidarity is very important, and women's groups fight against honor killings and early marriage of girls and to promote gender equality and fair treatment of women in Turkey. Their hard work and perseverance contribute to their advancement in society.

Role of Women in Society

Within Turkish society, the significance of motherhood and family is deeply cherished. Respect and reverence for mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and mothers-in-law hold a central place. These women are esteemed for their pivotal roles in shaping families.

Historical Contributions of Women in Turkey

Women have been one of the building blocks in shaping Turkey for centuries. However, especially since the founding of the Republic, Turkey has been one of the leading countries in the world, especially in terms of the political visibility of women. Women were given the right to vote and be elected in 1930, long before women were given political rights in many democratic and modern countries. However, while political rights and legal progress are vital, further measures are needed to address gender equality challenges.

Challenges Facing Women in Turkey

Gender Equality

Research conducted worldwide highlights the pressing issue of gender equality in Turkey. Especially in conservative communities, early marriage, domestic responsibilities, and limited opportunities hinder women's progress. Although there are still families in Turkey who demand that women not work, it is a fact that women's presence in the workplace has significantly increased in recent years.

Despite these challenges, women's employment has risen significantly, and there is growing attention to promoting gender diversity in the workforce through inclusion policies, which the Constitution regulates.

Glass Ceiling & Equal Pay

The perspectives of young Turkish women and their aspirations shape the essence of the issue of women's participation in society. Unlike previous generations, young women today hold less belief in facing gender discrimination. Judicial systems work towards equal pay when disparities arise between the salary paid to a woman vs. a man who performs the same job.

Nonetheless, the global concern of the "glass ceiling" persists in Turkey, where men are often favored for managerial positions despite women possessing comparable qualifications. In addition to the need for more comprehensive regulations regarding maternity leave, Turkey needs to adapt paternity leave, which is especially developing in European countries, to business life.

Turkey is trying to move forward with more permanent and constructive steps on the path drawn by Atatürk. But of course, at this point, political preferences come into play.

Domestic Violence

Another problem that should be mentioned about Turkey is violence against women. Violence against women in male-dominated societies is a serious issue and must be resolved. The fight against violence targeting women is of paramount importance in Turkey. Efforts to address this issue occur both domestically and internationally. However, progress is often challenged due to the political landscape.

Early Marriage

The issue of early marriage poses a challenge in Turkey. Although it is strictly forbidden for a child under the age of 18 to marry under the law, there is a problem, especially in eastern provinces, where children are forced to participate in informal religious unions. Women's rights groups continue to fight to end this practice.

Feminism and the Pursuit of Women's Rights

Feminism and women's rights movements remain active and influential in Turkey. Numerous non-governmental organizations tirelessly advocate for women's rights, monitor legal developments, and strive for social equality.

Experiencing Turkey as a Female Tourist

Domestic issues should not deter female tourists from visiting Turkey. Female tourists can easily visit Turkey and be inspired by women's solidarity. All these internal issues are taken seriously in society and solutions are tried to be found.

Turkey offers many wonderful experiences for women. Tourists are not subjected to the issues mentioned above. Wherever you go in Turkey, beautiful views and delicious food will welcome you. To help women in Turkey through tourism, consider supporting businesses and shops owned by women.

What to Wear in Turkey as a Female Tourist

For a more convenient and comfortable travel, you can choose not to wear revealing clothes in major cities in the summer or when visiting rural areas.

If you are going to visit summer cities and have a sea vacation, you can continue to dress as you would in your own country. There are no special clothes you must wear while visiting Turkey, people dress the way they dress in Europe or the USA. However, you can see women who wear hijabs and burqas, these clothes reflect the rules of Islamic dressing, but Turkey is a secular country and is not governed by Sharia law. Whether you prefer to dress in more relaxed clothing or more traditional modest clothing, you will not face any problems. Read more about What Women Should Wear here.

- by Melike Kocaer

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