Equality and discrimination

Low women’s labour force participation and employment rates are among the most important issues in the field of employment in Turkey. Compared to EU, Turkey’s female employment rates are extremely lower. While the EU Member States set quantative targets within the context of the Lisbon Agenda for achieving gender equality in economic life, such as that of raising women’s employment rate up to 60 per cent by 2010, women’s employment rate in Turkey is around 21.3 per cent as of December 2008, meaning that only one in four women are employed. This figure which falls far behind targets of the Lisbon Agenda shows the fact that women employment should be at the heart of the employment policies in Turkey.

Turkey has ratified ILO Conventions on improvement of gender equality and women employment such as 100, 111, 122 and 142. Moreover, Turkey has signed on 10 February 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding on the Decent Work Country Priorities through which improvement of gender equality and women employment has become one of the priority areas in Turkey.

In line with ILO’s prevailing policy on improvement of women employment and given the fact that women are poorly employed in Turkey, the ILO Ankara Office in cooperation with the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) has launched Pilot Project on Active Labour Market Policies for Advancing Gender Equality through Decent Employment for Women in Turkey in January 2009 on enhancing women employment in Turkey.