47.5 per cent of staff at the top five Turkish universities are female, but they tend to have significantly lower salaries than their male colleagues with similar experience. A recent Amnesty International essay by Howard Eissenstat on Turkey’s continuing gender gap gives this example, among others, with some interesting corroborating data.
Andy Finkel writes about women’s low labor participation rate in Turkey (around 30% at present) and the extra hurdles faced by covered women who wish to work or advance in the ranks of any business, including companies run by pious managers who tend to hire them only for low-level, poorly paid work, if at all. Covered women are a marginal, cheap labor force that can do little to improve Turkey’s very low household savings rate, which limits economic growth (savings were 14% in 2011, compared to 24% in high-income OECD countries, and even 46% in China between 2000 and 2008). More and more women, covered and uncovered, are getting an education in Turkey and will desire to participate in the economy (not only as consumers, but as entrepreneurs and professionals). This represents an enormous human potential, but with a lingering 9-10% unemployment rate, the argument will undoubtedly be made that women aren’t needed in the workforce, and indeed that women shouldn’t be in the workforce — look at the bad jobs and bad pay and harassment by men. Who wants that?!