Less moustaches in Turkish parliament?
Women’s rights are a serious issue in the early elections in Turkey on the 22nd of July. The political crisis is focusing on the separation of religion and state, and secular parties fear that the ruling Islamic AK Parti will not respect women’s rights. Women can gain from that. “Parties now want to show how much they care about women’s rights, so they put more women on their lists of candidates”, says Nükhet Sirman, sociology professor at Bosphorus University in Istanbul. “So does the AK Party, even if it is only to prove that they don’t want to lock up women in their homes.”
Sirman is active in the women’s organisation “Ka-der”, which is campaigning for more women in parliament. The percentage of female representatives is dramatically low: 4,2%. Ka-der hopes the step up to ten percent can be made.Ka-der got a lot of media attention when they sent (well- known) women on the road wearing moustaches and with the slogan: ‘Do I have to be a man to make it to the parliament?’. Later on they drew public attention with the slogan ‘Women are a must in this parliament’. Their demand: at least one woman in the first three places on the candidate lists, and every third candidate after that should be a woman. A list of demands for after the elections is sent to all potential members of parliament. Sirman: ‘We intend to critically monitor female members of parliament. We want to remind them that they owe something to the women’s movement. That way, we want to improve the position of women and prevend women in parliament to become too much a part of the corrupted political system in Turkey, where really everything is arranged in back rooms.” (Published in monthly feminist magazine Opzij, july 2007)
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