Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey: Discrimination against Turkish Women Condemned at European Parliament

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey: Discrimination against Turkish Women Condemned at European Parliament

Article excerpt

Organised by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, this hearing aimed to contribute to an own-initiative report by Emine Bozkurt (PES, Netherlands), which is due to be voted on by the Committee on May 26. According to experts present discrimination is also prevalent in the job place: only 27% of workers are female, most of them working in agriculture and public administration. The MEP also, of course, mentioned the clear police brutality at a March 6 demonstration in Istanbul marking International Womens Day, and said that "one of the conditions for Turkeys accession to the EU is respect for womens rights".

She accepted that Turkey was working hard to reform its civil and penal codes to combat discrimination, but added that it was not doing enough. Ms Bozkurt said the government must invest sufficient financial and human resources to ensure these reforms go ahead. Another major problem lies in the lack of reliable information on womens living conditions. Without official updated statistics, it is extremely difficult to plan any initiative. According to local NGO figures from 1995, almost all women living in the slums of Ankara had suffered domestic violence. Out of 1200 women interviewed between 1990 and 1996, 88% claimed to be living in a violent environment.

Government efforts.

Guldal Aksit, Turkish State Minister for gender quality highlighted efforts made by the government in combating discrimination and social exclusion. The ratification of major international conventions on the rights of women, amendment of the Constitution by means of an article promoting gender equality and reform of civil and penal codes, dropping patriarchal concepts such as chastity and public morality, have been the most important reforms. …

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