Women’s Labor Participation in Turkey: Update

Recent indicators for Turkish women’s lives, including labor force participation, literacy rates, marriage age, income disparity, household labor, violence, political participation.

Ruled Not By Law, But Judicial Whim

A 12- or 14-year old girl cannot by law be “willing” to engage in sex. Her appearance and personality are irrelevant. When will the old “she asked for it” excuse be kicked out of court as mitigation for what is a violent crime against the body of a child? A law and order state bases order on law. It doesn’t base its law on the whims of communal prejudice.

Where Are The Women?

I wanted to draw your attention to an article by David Lepeska in AlMonitor that gives some numbers for the participation of women in the Turkish political system at all levels. They are taken from a recent report by the Directorate General of Local Administrations, based on 2012 Interior Ministry statistics. It is scandalously low, approaching zero.

Breaking News: Women in Trousers

In the end it was easier to change the rules to allow headscarves in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly than to allow women MPs to wear pants.

It’s Out!

Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks is out in Turkish translation, Müslüman Milliyetçiliği ve Yeni Türkler

Safak Pavey’s Historic Speech

Last week Safak Pavey, MP for CHP, gave a speech in the Grand National Assembly on the occasion of the very first inclusion in parliament of four women wearing headscarves. Her speech captured the historical moment in all of its ambiguities and anguish.

MPs Wear Headscarves to Parliament

Not long ago this headline would have caused a violent uproar (as happened when newly elected MP Merve Kavakci tried to take up her post veiled in 1999), but today the four AKP MPs who entered with scarves on their heads were greeted by cell-phone photos and some handshakes.

Erdogan’s Masculine Impenetrability

For those of you who have read my book, this article will come as an “Aha!” confirmation of my discussion of how the national image is founded upon a militant masculinity and fears about penetration by outsiders that, I argued, are mirror images of widely accepted relations within the conservative, patriarchal, authoritarian family. Nation, state and family thus continually reinforce one another.

Turkish Births 2012: By the Numbers

The Turkish Statistical Institute has published its newest 2012 data on births. Women are giving birth later, the fertility rate has risen to just below the rate required for replacement of the existing population, and women in parts of Turkey’s impoverished largely Kurdish east are giving birth to twice as many children as those in the developed western part of the country.

The Economic Rationale For Peace in the East

Forbes represents the AKP-PKK rapprochement as a sound business model. I’m not sure about the article’s link to demographic trends, given PM Erdogan’s pronouncements that women should have three or more children. Maybe he means women in western Turkey, not Kurdish women. When prosperity does come to the East, we can expect Kurdish birth rates there to fall as well, just as they have in the west. Women want to share in the new opportunities.