Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Thick Glass Ceiling

Turkey's State Personnel Department has just released figures detailing the participation (or lack thereof) of women in the country's bureaucracy. It's not a pretty picture. From a report in Today's Zaman:
All undersecretaries in Turkish ministries are male. Out of 79 deputy undersecretaries, only 2 are female. Out of 96 director generals in Turkish ministries, 91 are male. All of the 175 governors in Turkey are male. Out of 450 deputy governors, 12 are female. Out of 8,284 high level bureaucrats, 7,713 are male while only 571 seats are taken by female public servants.

Out of 989 district governors, 19 are female.
The full article -- which, true to the paper's ideological leanings, blames the imbalance on Turkey's ongoing headscarf ban -- is here. Turkey, in recent years, has consistently ranked very low in various indexes that measure the level of female participation in political and economic life. Last year's World Economic Forum Gender Gap report gave Turkey a dismal review, ranking the country 129th out of 134 countries (read Turkey's profile here (pdf)).

And while the European Union's most recent progress report on Turkey was seen as mild compared to previous years, it was very forceful in its criticism of the country's recent record on gender equality (you can read it here (pdf -- go to page 22 for the relevant section)).

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