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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - the founder of the Republic of Turkey and the modern Turkish woman

The position of women and men in the society

The equality of rights of women and men is anchored in the Turkish Constitution. Women have had the general right to vote since 1934. Long before Germany elected Angela Merkel as their first female Chancellor, Ms. Tansu Çiller took office as Prime Minister in 1993. With this, Turkey became one of just ten countries world-wide to have a woman at their head.

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Legal situation

The final anomalies in the Civil Code resp. family law which favoured men were removed by the most recent reform in 2003. Social life is, however, characterised by enormous differences between west and east, city and country and young and old.

Women in Turkish business life

Inconsistent development

The development has, however, taken place in inconsistent fashion: Turkey is becoming in part even more westernised and modern, on the other hand, more and more women are committing themselves to strict Islam and are wearing headscarves or are covering themselves even more extensively than before.
There are laws forbidding the wearing of headscarves when working in public office. Women work in all tiers of business; there are, for instance, more female lawyers than male lawyers accredited in Turkey.

The role of women in Turkish business

There is a clear west-east gradient in Turkey with regard to the role of women in business. In the west of the country, many women work as journalists, lawyers, doctors or in teaching. However, here – as in almost every country in the world – the positions of power continue to be firmly in the hands of men:
90 per cent of the executive positions, in private business even 98 per cent, are held by men.

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