Promoting Gender Equality in the World of Work


Achieving the goal of improving women’s employment has become a priority in Turkey where the labour force in Turkey is characterized by a significant gender gap with low female participation and low employment opportunities for women. Women constitute almost half of Turkey’s population (40 million), however labour participation rate is 34.5% for women while labour participation rate stands at 71.8% for men, according to July 2019 data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK).

While most women remain out of the labour market, many women are in fact working in the informal economy. From ILO perspective, not only accessing employment opportunities but also quality of job and working conditions are very important for its global goal of decent work for all.

A joint report called “Working Conditions in a Global Perspective” by the ILO and the European research agency (Eurofound), released in May 2019, for instance, provides striking comparative analysis on job quality around the world, including Turkey in terms of work hours, gender pay differences and opportunities for skills’ upgrading: major topics subject to Phase II of the Programme.

According to the Report, one-third of workers in the EU experience intensive work (tight deadlines and high-speed work) while in Turkey half of workers face intensive work. Working time differences are stark across countries, with one-sixth of workers in EU countries working more than 48 hours per week, while around half of workers do so in Turkey. Over 70 per cent of workers in the Republic of Korea are able to take an hour or two off work to take care of personal and family matters while the figure is 20-40 per cent in Turkey, according to report. Regardless of the country, the least-educated get less access to opportunities to grow and develop their skills. The proportion of workers who report learning new things at work varies between 72 and 84 per cent in the EU while the figure is lower in Turkey with 57 percent.

Moreover, considering the high rates of women’s employment in the informal sector in Turkey, it could be concluded that women’s working conditions are far from being in accord with the four pillars of decent work definition of the ILO, namely standards and basic rights at work, social dialogue, social security for all, and productive employment.

Phase I of the Project “More and Better Jobs for Women: Women’s Empowerment through Decent Work in Turkey,” was implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR) with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in 2013-2018.

Important outcomes have been achieved in the Phase I of the Project at the policy level as well as in terms of ensuring access for women to decent work opportunities and raising awareness on gender equality and working conditions in order to support strengthening of women's employment in Turkey.

Phase II, which is designed as ‘More and Better Jobs for Women Programme funded by SIDA is implemented under the “Gender Equality at Work Portfolio” of the ILO Office for Turkey.
Under the programme, various projects will be carried out in the provinces of Ankara, Bursa, Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli and Konya to promote women’s access to employment opportunities and improve women’s working conditions.

In this framework, joint works will be carried out with multiple institutions including the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR), the General Directorate of Labour, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services and the other related public institutions, employers’ and workers’ organisations, women’s organisations, universities as well as private sector to improve women’s working conditions in the selected sectors of textiles, commerce and office, food, general services and metal.

For overcoming the challenges mentioned above, ILO Turkey office carries out a comprehensive programmme called “More and Better Jobs for Women-II” (2019-2022) that is funded (3.280.481,1 USD) by Sweden, through Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

The programme aims both at supporting women job seekers’ access to employment opportunities and at contributing to improvement of decent working conditions for working women.

The programme hence includes various projects focusing of different dimensions of difficulties that prevent women to access decent work in cooperation with key actors of the world of work in order to increase the number of women who work under decent work conditions and contribute to the promotion of gender equality.

The programme is conducted in 6 pilot provinces which are Ankara, Bursa, Istanbul, Konya, Kocaeli, İzmir.

For more information about Phase 2: “More and Better Jobs for Women Programme”

Program Information Brochure


















Phase 1: “More and Better Jobs for Women: Women’s Empowerment through Decent Work in Turkey” Project