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T U RK I SH SOC I AL D EMOC R AC Y

EU ROPEA N BU L L ET I N

C H P

Republican People’s Party

www.chp.org.tr

C O N F E R E N C E

GENDER EQUALITY IN TURKEY AND THE EU European Parliament Brussels - 18 March 2009

ALDE - Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in cooperation with TUSIAD and KAGIDER

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Mr Karin Riis-Jørgensen, MEP, Vice-President of ALDE Mr Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Enlargement Ms Gülseren Onanç, President of KAGIDER (Turkish Women Entrepreneurs Association) Ms Diana Wallis, Vice-President of the European Parliament, MEP Mr Bahadir Kaleagasi, International Coordinator, TUSIAD (Turkish Industry&Business Assoc.) Ms Selma Acuner, European Women’s Lobby Board Member, Ankara University Mr Riccardo Serri, European Commission, DG Enlargement Ms Münevver Helün Fırat, AK Party Women's Branch - External Relations Ms Kader Sevinç, CHP Representative to the EU (Turkish social democratic party)

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CH P EU R EPR ES EN TA TIO N 1 1, R o nd P oi nt S c huma n 10 40 –

Br uss e ls

br us s e ls @ ch p. or g . tr

T : +32 2 256 7537

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Excerpts from the opinions expressed by the CHP : CHP and Gender Equality The Turkish people’s deep civilizational roots and aspirations of being an advanced information society and democracy in the 21st century justify the highest political focus on the gender equality. This is why the Turkish government, parliament and the all political parties have an ever more important responsibility to upgrade the Turkish society’s gender equality performance above the European average. In this respect, the CHP, as Turkey's social democratic party proposes the following: 

We propose to create a National Women’s Rights Charter and National Women Rights Council to improve women rights and opportunities and to promote mechanisms to achieve gender equality in all aspects of social, economic and political life.

We will campaign for equal political representation of women and men in all decision making bodies at local, national and international level. Turkey for upcoming local elections.

The situation on the women candidates for the upcoming local elections in Turkey:  CHP has 46 women candidates, 9 of them are for the mayorship of big cities.  The ruling party AKP has 18 women candidates, none of them for cities.  The MHP 36 has women candidates, none of them for cities.

We also propose to create effective “vocational education centres” focused on women. We believe that vocational education is a key element of empowerment of women.

We will ensure and promote women’s sexual and reproductive health rights throughout Turkey. Family planning needs to be taken more seriously in Turkey. We don’t support Prime Minister Erdogan’s call to Turkish women “to have at least three children”. In our view this vision may lead to shifts in women’s role in society. Moreover, politicians should not interfere with the private life choices of the Turkish women.

We propose to encourage and support efforts and projects to stop domestic and gender-specific violence by allocating a share of the municipal budgets.

The rate of early marriages is 35% in Turkey. In other words, one marriage out of three is an Early Marriage. Member of the Parliament from the CHP, Ms Gaye

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Erbatur proposed a motion to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and requested a research on the reasons of early marriages and the preventive measures. 

Role models are important: Unfortunately, spouses of many politicians holding high level posts got married in very early ages and left school. Or even if they have a university degree, they are out of professional life. The CHP government will attach importance to positive role models and public opinion campaigns.

We propose to create National Women Data Centre in Ankara, Women Info Centres, and National Women Rights Council. Gender Equality issues should be solved within the framework of participatory approach. These establishments will pave the way of women’s direct participation in policy making process.

The CHP will continue to fight gender stereotypes and believe that strengthening women’s rights and opportunities will bring significant economic, social and democratic benefits for all citizens of Turkey and Europe. In CHP's social democratic vision of Turkey's future, the EU membership process plays a crucial role. The gender equality is in this respect a key issue which transcends all other main fields of integration such as democracy, economic growth, employment, education, information society, rural development and regional development. A focal area for the CHP is the gender mainstreaming. We defend the integration of the gender equality dimension into every phase of policy-making processes: design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. This involves a comprehensive impact analysis methodology that CHP is proposing to introduce into the Turkish political culture. We have to assess how policies impact on the social and professional life of both women and men. This is also the way to make gender equality a concrete reality in Turkey's EU accession process. In fact, the gender equality is at core of a real interaction between Turkey's EU process and its social and economic development.

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The economic crisis and gender equality

The economic crisis increases the burden on women. Before the crisis, a considerable number of working women in Turkey were in the informal economy with lower salaries and weak social protection There is a number of policy measures that could help rebalance the burden placed on women: 

First, the mainstreaming is very important.

Second, broader social protection including unemployment benefits and insurance schemes that recognize women’s vulnerable position in the labour market would be necessary.

Third, the social dialogue with the economic actors, labour and employer unions to enhance any new measures.

Finally, acceleration by the government of Turkey's EU accession process and related reforms would play a vital role. This would help Turkey to be back in economic growth with positive results for women’s work conditions if the government and the parliament have adopted a mainstreaming approach effectively.

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CHP European Bulletin-Gender Equality