More women in the parliament

01 Jul 2006

UNDP's gender project 'Women in Politics' was launched on May 30th, 2006 at the policy advisory workshop ‘Local Policies on the Way to Gender Equality'.

New Horizons - The workshop aimed to build on policy recommendations prepared by civil society partners of the UNDP to further the participation of women in politics in Turkey.

Sarah Poole, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, at the launch, said that UNDP looks at women's rights in different aspects such as familial, cultural, educational, political and social, and runs both international and local projects for the participation of women in politics. Giving examples of UNDP's relevant international projects, Poole explained that gender equality is much higher in Turkey than in some other countries; however there was still much to do to entitle women's political rights, therefore this workshop was very important.

A member of the Local Politics Working Group, Yıldız Tokman gave a presentation at the workshop on ‘Local Policies on the Way to Gender Equality', highlighting women's under-representation in politics in Turkey, and summarized KA-DER's activities to change this fact. Tokman said the Group's goal is to set up a framework to create discussions through local policies on local gender inequities and its solutions. She expressed the situation in figures: women are represented by % 2 in city councils and provincial councils which are elected decision-making organs of local administrations. Only 18 (% 0,6) out of 3234 mayors are women, while in EU member countries 1 out of 5 elected local administrators is woman.

After the presentation, discussions took place on the preliminary policy report on ‘Local Policies on the Way to Gender Equality'.

The workshop was organised by UNDP, KA-DER Ankara Local Politics Working Group, and KAGIDER Women's Fund.

UNDP conducts two major projects on women's rights issues in Turkey. 'CEDAW Follow Up Project', carried out within the framework of ‘Women's Integration in Development' programme, aims to promote women's empowerment and gender mainstreaming in Turkey. While Turkish women highly participate in professions and were granted the vote in the 1930s, and Turkey is apparently the only Muslim country with equal rights of inheritance and divorce for both sexes, women still face significant inequalities in property ownership, literacy ratio, political representation and visibility, especially in the less developed parts of the country. Turkey ratified the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in 1986. However, there are still significant violations of women's human rights. The 'CEDAW Follow Up' project started in 2005 with a budget of $ 30,000. UNDP's main partner in this project is ‘Uçan Süpürge' (the Flying Broom) Women's Organization.

The main objective of the second, 'Women in Politics' project is to increase the number of women in the Turkish Parliament. The project promotes women's participation in politics, as a means to deepening democratic practice and strengthen the visibility of gender in the period leading to the 2007 general elections in Turkey. UNDP's project has a budget of $ 120,000, and its major partner is the Association of Supporting and Training Women Candidates (KA-DER). UNDP also partners with the broader community of women's activists, including the women's branches of the leading political parties.