Only 2 women chosen out of 26 ministers in new Cabinet

Sehnaz Kıymaz Bahceci of the Women for Women’s Human Rights-New Ways Association (WWHR-New Ways) in Turkey told Today’s Zaman via email: “Unfortunately, the patriarchal structure of politics in Turkey always places obstacles in front of women from attaining higher positions. The percentage of female ministers in the Cabinet has always been lower than the percentage of women in Parliament. Women make up 50 percent of society and thus deserve 50 percent of the decision-making positions.”

New Family and Social Policy Minister Sema Ramazanoglu and Environment and Urban Planning Minister Fatma Guldemet will be the only female voices in the 64th Cabinet. The seat for family and social policy minister is the only position in the Cabinet that is always given to a woman, a pattern that is often criticized by women’s rights organizations.

“Even in politics, women are placed in charge of the ‘private sphere’ — i.e., the family, the home, the compassionate side of the state. Women have a voice and ideas beyond the Ministry of Family and Social Policy. However, as the ministry that houses the Directorate General of the Status of Women, a female minister is welcome and we hope she will bring a gender perspective to the ministry’s work,” Bahceci also noted.

The only woman to be included in the interim Cabinet was Aysen Gurcan as family and social policy minister. Beril Dedeoglu later joined Gurcan when she was named EU affairs minister after Ali Haydar Konca resigned.

Women’s organizations in Turkey often criticize the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for not placing enough importance on the protection and empowerment of women, especially since 2011, when the Ministry of Women and Family was renamed to the Ministry of Family and Social Policy.


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