"If a society does not wage a common struggle to attain a common goal with its women and men, scientifically there is no way for it to get civilized or developed." -- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Citizens participate politically to obtain a share in the allocation of social resources. But in the contemporary world we see an imbalance characterized by the relative underparticipation of women. We will evaluate reasons for this imbalance in Turkey then examine women's participation in elections, public service, political parties and associations.
While in the Ottoman era women's status was improved over the time when Islamic social hierarchy was accepted, they were still almost totally deprived of political rights. Reform edicts made it possible for them to hold some public offices. There wereassociations headed by women but these functioned as charity organizations. In 1924, the Kemalist Reforms opened the way for the women to join the civil service. In 1930, women gained the right to participate in municipal and, in 1934, national elections. This emancipation fromabove somehow delayed conscious participation of women in politics. It was only in the 1980s that Turkish woman began to see herself as a political actor rather than as a housewife at home with a life based only on her family.
Turkey's parliament provides a way for women to participate in politics but barriers still exist to their activity:
--Through the modernization process, the belief that being a female politician would hinder women's traditional family role has lost its significance but not totally disappeared. Recent research shows 68% of women said involvement would not create problems with their spouses and that some problems with children might arise but could be solved.
--Women often prefer other occupations and can view politics as interfering with their career plans.
--Politics requires huge expenditures and Turkish women do not have much capital.... [continues]
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