In a promising move towards equal citizenship rights and promoting gender equality, Turkey's recent welfare reforms appear to address fundamental problems - the patriarchal system that limits women's lives to their roles as wives and mothers, and their labour to informal and unskilled sectors. Yet these policies, guided by the process of accession to the European Union (EU), have conflicting outcomes for women. Here, Gender and Society in Turkey presents an overview of the gendered nature of the Turkish welfare state and also an account of how the current welfare reform process affects the nature of broader gender practices in Turkey. While women continue to be used as 'symbolic pawns' in political manoeuvring and debate, from which women themselves are mainly absent, the socially conservative yet economically liberal policies of Erdogan's AKP government have in practice weakened concrete gains for women. Formal equality and market-led social security reform combined with an emphasis on Islamic charity and traditional family roles cause a contradiction that undermines efforts to close the gender gap. Furthermore, these reforms, while promising equality for women, can in some cases protect traditional gender roles while in others stigmatize women as a weaker, more vulnerable group in need of special protection. This book approaches the gendered core of Turkey's reform programme through various disciplines and from an array of viewpoints: from income and employment disparities to the controversial Evlatl?k institution, and from women activists in trade unions to the persistent challenges of cultural conservatism and patriarchal structures. A comprehensive and important analysis of the Turkish welfare regime and of EU policy through the lens of gender makes this book indispensable for all those interested in Turkish and Middle East studies, the EU, sociology, gender studies and globalisation.
Gender and Society in Turkey
The Impact of Neoliberal Policies, Political Islam and EU Accession