Source / Credit: Al Jazeera
Turkey’s elections resulted in an increase in the number of women in the 550-seat parliament from 48 to 78.
At 14 per cent, the proportion of women in the new parliament is higher than in at least two European Union states, Romania and Cyprus, according to figures compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. But it still falls well below the EU average, and even the world average of about 19 per cent.
In his victory speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, said that “no one should doubt that we will protect the dignity, faith and lifestyles of those who did not vote for us”.
But the fact is, some do doubt – among them a dynamic movement of women’s NGOs that both pressured and assisted Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in legislating pro-women reforms between 2002 and 2005.
The AKP has been applauded by liberal Turks and Western observers alike for being receptive to the lobbying of these women’s organisations, and for enshrining gender equality in Turkey’s civil and penal codes, as well as launching progressive initiatives to combat domestic violence and increase the rate of girls’ education.