The role of women in contemporary Turkey is defined by an ongoing gender equality struggle, contributing elements of which include predicate conditions for EU membership candidacy, prevalent political tides that favor restrictive patriarchal models, and woman’s rights activism.

Women have had the right to vote and hold office since Ataturk’s era in the 1920’s, and in 1993, the citizens of Turkey elected their first female Prime Minister, TansuÇiller .

But today, only 1 percent of mayors in Turkey are women, 14.4 percent of lawmakers are women, and there is  only one female cabinet minister.

The rise of social media has helped women gain greater power in the political sphere. However, the small percentage of women candidates shows that more needs to be done.

According to the Wikipedia, “The acceptance of women’s issues as an independent political and planning problem was discussed for the first time in the Fifth Five Year Development Plan (1985–1990), and “the General Directorate for the Status and Problems of Women” was established as a national mechanism in 1990.

Since the 1990s, feminist discourse has become institutionalized, with the foundation of women’s studies centers and university programs at universities such as Marmara University or as Istanbul University.[

In 2002 the Turkish government reformed Turkish criminal and civil law, and since then, the rights of women and men during marriage, divorce, and any subsequent property rights have all been equalized.

A criminal law has been established that deals with the female sexuality as a matter of individual rights, rather than as a matter of family honor. Additions to the Turkish constitution oblige the state to use all the necessary means to promote the equality of the sexes. Family courts were also created, labor laws were instituted to prohibit sexism, and programs were created to educate against domestic violence and to improve access to education for girls.

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