Women candidates in Turkey confront increasing obstacles across the spectrum 2023

An Istanbul business district apartment is the hub of a campaign to get more women into politics.

As 61 million Turkish citizens prepare to vote in presidential and legislative elections, Ben Secerim, or I Choose, is disappointed.

The NGO was founded two years ago to encourage women to run for office.

In the May 14 parliamentary election, Ben Secerim revealed 20 women from four parties. Only four candidates have a chance of entering the Turkish Grand National Assembly owing to the election method, which allocates party votes to candidates based on their ranking on party lists.

“It’s very disappointing for us,” said Ben Secerim president Nilden Bayazit. Women candidates face a roadblock even in liberal parties. It demonstrates there are still numerous obstacles on women and they don’t want to alter that.”

Two grafs below, anything about their 20 compared. greater numbers?

In a country that legalized women’s suffrage in 1934, the overall picture is gloomy.

The major opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has nominated 156 women to 600 parliamentary seats, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has nominated 113. At 40.5%, the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TIP) has the most female candidates.

Women’s position in mainstream politics is much more gloomy when party lists are examined. In 11 of Turkey’s 87 electoral districts, the CHP ranks women first, while the AKP has four.

Turkey’s gender gap is not exceptional. The Inter-Parliamentary Union reports that just five nations have 50% or more female legislators. Turkey ranks 132nd with 17.4% of 2018 deputies being women.

In Turkey, patriarchal societies are less of a barrier to women entering politics.

62% of respondents in last year’s Ben Secerim and KONDA poll felt female lawmakers would improve Turkey. Women’s political party quotas were supported by a comparable percentage. Nearly three-quarters would support a family lady in politics.

“A female politician is needed for a democratic society, for justice, to solve the climate problem, to end corruption, to transform education policies and to regulate family policies,” Bayazit stated.

Social problems have traditionally been championed by Turkish women. International Women’s Day on March 8 draws thousands to protest for equality and rights, frequently against police riot shields and tear gas.

Women’s participation has grown since Turkey’s 2021 withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on women’s rights and subsequent attempts to pull down anti-discrimination laws.

Civil activity has not translated into female party politics.

Turkey’s women are increasingly visible and influential. “We see this especially in civil society,” said Istanbul CHP parliamentary candidate Elmas Arus.

“There are not many directly [sitting] in the parliament but since it is in the field of civil society, [women] have started to direct policies in some way.”

Lawyer Sibel Piskin is running for the opposition Iyi Party in Kirklareli, one of 20 Turkish provinces without a female parliamentarian. She is second on the party’s list, despite studies suggesting she is well-respected in the region, therefore she is unlikely to win.

She remarked, “I was not elected because I was in the second place in the [2018] election and I am in the second place again.”Yes, motivation is lost. Female politicians will improve the country, according to society.

Most political parties are controlled by men, which many think hinders women.

Arus added, “It is the party organs that are decisive in the nomination of women and unfortunately women are not sufficiently included in the party organs.” “We see women and young people actively working in women’s branches or youth branches—it is as if they have been given such a space.” Since women don’t make decisions, male-dominated politics continues.”

Arus, who is Roma and heads the Zero Discrimination Association, named former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Iyi Party leader Meral Aksener, Istanbul CHP leader Canan Kaftancioglulu, and deputy CHP leader Selin Sayek Boke as influential women in politics.

She stated, “They know the pulse of politics and they lead the people.” Parties require an attitude shift. The party organs’ attitude toward delegates must alter for women to enter politics.

Arus cited Rwanda’s 61% female parliamentary representation, the world’s highest, as evidence for election law reform.

She said, “A fight against gender discrimination, which prevents women from political leadership, is also essential.” To boost women’s political participation, legal and political procedures that fight discrimination must be established.

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