Turkish Women Economically Weak
Figures reveal that Turkey is far behind developed countries in terms of women’s position in the workforce. Women who are of working age but do not participate in the labor force constitute 44 percent of Turkey’s total female population, while overall only 26 percent of Turkish women work, says an academic. Men in the country also earn much more than women for the same jobs
Within the scope of the EU adaptation process, Turkey should increase women’s employment rate to 60 percent, says Dilek Terek, director of the Okan University Financial Risks Research and Practice Center, or OKFRAM.
Within the scope of the EU adaptation process, Turkey should increase women’s employment rate to 60 percent, says Dilek Terek, director of the Okan University Financial Risks Research and Practice Center, or OKFRAM. Hürriyet photo
The social status of women and their position in working life is worrying in both developing and developed countries, especially Turkey, according to the director of the Okan University Financial Risks Research and Practice Center, or OKFRAM.
“An implementation of laws is required to remove social prejudices against women not only in Turkey but in all developed and developing countries,” director Dilek Terek.
Only 22 percent of nonagricultural workers in Turkey are women, Terek said in commenting on global data. This figure varies between 47 and 52 percent in the United States and European Union.
Global data reveal that men’s yearly income is much higher than that of women. Men make 3.5 times more than women in Turkey, Terek said, adding that the ratio was only 2.5 times in Egypt and China, Terek said.
According to the 2010 Global Gender report of the World Economic Forum, Turkey ranks 105th among a total of 134 countries in implementing equal pay for equal work, Terek said.
Turkey is also failing in women’s labor force participation rates, according to statistics, with just 26 percent of women working. While Egypt and India were similar at 23 and 31 percent, respectively, this figure is 68 percent in the U.S. and varies between 59 and 75 percent in the EU.
But while women seem to be more employed in some countries, the proportion of women with mid-level and executive duties remains low, according to data. Women employees account for only 22 percent of all mid-level managers and executives in Turkey, she said.
Egon Zehnder International, a company specializing in assessing and recruiting business leaders, said certain quotas of women were obliged to be on the executive boards of publicly-held companies in countries like Finland, Switzerland and Norway.
Women account for only 6 percent of the executive boards of Turkish companies, Terek said, adding that this figure was 10 percent in Germany and the United Kingdom.
Flexible working hours
Women who are of working age but do not participate in the labor force constitute 44 percent of Turkey’s total female population, according to data.
As part of the EU accession process, Turkey should increase its female employment rate to 60 percent, she said. “But it is clear that this is a distant target in the short term. To this end, the flexible working model should be implemented to boost women’s employment.”
A lack of education and migration from rural areas are additional factors accounting for the low rate of women’s employment rate in Turkey, said Terek.
“Not only women, but especially families and employers that try to isolate women from business life and do not allow them to made advancements, should be educated. The government, local administrations, nongovernmental organizations and universities have a key role in providing a way for women to enter business life,” she said.
Women constitute 49 percent of the total employment in the agriculture, fishery and stock breeding sectors in Turkey, said Terek. This figure is 43 percent in the banking, finance and insurance sectors, 47 percent in the education sector and 55 percent in healthcare.
Marriage age differs as well
Women’s marriage age also reveals a huge difference between developed and developing economies, according to the data. The marriage age for women in the U.S., Australia and many EU countries varies between 29 and 32 but ranges between 19 and 23 in many developing countries such as Bangladesh, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The average age for women’s marriage in Turkey is 23, according to 2010 data, Terek said.
Women’s literacy rate, meanwhile, is only 81 percent in Turkey, the same as Saudi Arabia, according to Terek. This figure is 98 percent in EU countries, the U.S, and in the South America but is only 51 percent in Egypt and India.
Font Size: Larger|Smaller
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News