A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003 (3)

Political and Economic Context

A girl shepherds goats on the plains of Harran in Şanlıurfa, Southeastern Turkey

Child labour is a common reality for groups in the lower socio-economic scale.
Photograph by Mustafa Ertekin © UNICEF Turkey 2003

Do institutes and institutions dealing with gender issues exist?

Directorate General for Status and Problems of Women (DGSPW)

Responsible for dissemination of information on gender issues to other institutions, mainstreaming policies, advocating for girls and women’s education, health and protection and the development of related legislation. Directorate General for Status and Problems of Women Established 1990

Local Women’s Status Units

DGSPW units in fifteen provinces are hosted by provincial authorities. Established 1997

State Planning Organisation, Women’s Sector

Responsible for the development of future plans and projections on women’s issues to empower women. Established 1985

Women’s Issues Research and Implementation Centres in 14 universities

Organises research and application projects, develops educational programs and materials to raise awareness and promote the empowerment of women. Established 1989

Institute of Gender Research Departments in Universities

Ankara University, Middle East Technical University, İstanbul University and Ege University MA run programmes targeted at producing academic information on women’s issues, developing instruments and methodologies, and also training for human resources in related fields. Established 1993

Women’s Guest Houses (Shelters) and Community Centres under the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK)

Guest houses provide temporary accommodation for women who have been subjected to domestic abuse and/or violence. Community Centres also offer protective and supportive training to families and women in lower income urban areas such as gecekondular. Established 1990

State Institute of Statistics (SIS) Department of Social Structure and Statistics on Women

In collaboration with UNICEF Turkey, SIS maintains a database on gender: the Women’s Information Network (WIN) which in turn is complemented by the Children’s Information Network (CIN). Both are hosted in English on the SIS website. WIN Established 1993

South Eastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP) Multi Purpose Community Centres

GAP develops and administers programs on literacy, health, motherhood, and various skills-based courses for women between 14 and 50 years of age in order to integrate them into national development and so empower them. Established 1995

The United Nations and Partnerships

Is there a UN Gender Theme Group?

UNICEF is a member of the UN Gender Thematic Working Group, the working principles of which are shaped by the CCA/UNDAF process. The Group implements activities agreed by members and focuses mainly on increasing awareness of women’s rights. The Group collaborates with universities and NGOs on events and activities. Members also support the activities of the other member organisations. Established 2002

Is there active collaboration within the UN Girls’ Education Initiative?

There is no active collaboration within the UNGEI. Several UN agencies are working on girls’ education but the Country Team and Resident Coordinator need further guidance on UNGEI.

Nationwide Policies or Plans

Is girls’ education reflected in national plans?

Yes -- basic education is equally compulsory for boys and girls: discrimination is to be avoided (Constitution, Article 42). The need to equalise levels of education in the country for males and females and to increase the level of education and participation in the development and decision-making processes as well as employment is accepted as one of the main objectives of the Ministry of National Education (MONE).
MONE and the 8th Five Year Development Plan, State Planning Organisation 2000.

The Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment of Turkey, states that Full development of primary education by the year 2000 is within the domain of primary education. MONE

Has the Government introduced any gender-responsive policies in education?

Yes -- There is a policy in accordance with EFA plan to encourage girls especially towards education.
Programmes and Policies, MONE 2002.

Conventions and Laws

Is there a compulsory education law?

Yes -- Compulsory status covering the ages between 6 and 14 years is dictated by the Constitution, (Article 42) and the term of compulsory primary education was increased to 8 years in 1997 (Act No. 4306). The law was first introduced in 1924 with subsequent revisions in 1962, 1980 and 1997.

Is there a law to protect children against child labour?

Yes -- Apart from the Constitution Article 42, Labour Law No. 1475, Article 67, the ILO Conventions 138,182 and UN Convention Article 32 are recognised so children are protected against child labour at both national and international levels. In practice however child labour is a common reality for groups in the lower socio-economic scale.

Are there any laws or policies that ensure attendance by pregnant girls or the return to school of school-age mothers after birth of children?

No -- On the contrary, married and/or pregnant girls cannot return to school owing to social pressure. Families do not send them to school nor are the schools ready to accept them. They are excluded once it is discovered that they are pregnant.

Is there a law on age of marriage?

According to the latest Civil Code (01/01/2003), children of either sex can get married at 17 years of age with parental consent. In special cases, the age can be lowered to 16 by a court decision.

Other Factors

Are school or tuition fees charged?

No -- Primary education is free with the exception of private schools which accommodate 2% of primary school children. However, some schools impose donations on families.

Is information available on annual income levels by gender?

Yes -- Female: US$4,379, Male: US$9,516 -- purchasing power per capita for 2000 was estimated at US$6,947.
Human Development Report 2002 (HDR), UNDP, New York, 2003.

Is sex-disaggregated information available
on any public professions?

Table 1: Women in the Professions
Profession1 Women
Members of Parliament 4%
Civil Service 33%
Academia 36%
Law 19.7%
Medecine 33.8%
School Principals 4%

1 Women in Turkey 2001, August 2001 Directorate General for Status and Problems of Women, Ankara 2001.

Continue to the fourth part of A Gender Review in Education, Turkey 2003, the UNICEF Context.

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