Though Turkey, like the rest of the world, is challenged by fewer numbers of women participating in the workforce, a new study, released yesterday, on International Women's Day, revealed some positive development as it showed a rise in the number of female entrepreneurs Turkey.
A study by the Customs and Trade Ministry revealed that since 2013, the number of female entrepreneurs in Turkey has increased by some 35 percent and, as of March this year, there are 256,992 women business owners, compared to 190,382 in 2013. The study claimed that over the same period, the share of female entrepreneurs rose up to 15 percent from 12.7 percent.
At 85 percent, beauty salons topped the list of businesses owned by women. Istanbul, the country's most populated city, had the highest number of female entrepreneurs at 31,073 and was followed by İzmir, the country's third largest city, at 21,761. In capital Ankara, there were 13,587 female entrepreneurs registered with authorities as of March, while Bayburt, a small city in northern Turkey, had the least number of female entrepreneurs, at 102.
Besides beauty salons, women are also involved in work at daycare centers, hairdressers, alternative medicine and translation offices, rounding up the top five businesses owned by female entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) about the results, Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi said, the government has been focusing its efforts to increase the number of female entrepreneurs, who he viewed as "vital" to maintain sustainable development in the country.
Turkey strives to accomplish its growth goal and become one of the biggest economies in the world in the next two decades. However, low participation of women in the workforce concerns experts. According to the state-run statistical agency TurkStat, female employment rate in 2015 was only 27.5 percent. The number of women joining the labor force was apparently in line with their level of education, as women with higher education are more inclined to join the labor force, the 2015 figures showed.
Tüfenkçi said Turkish female entrepreneurs have a remarkable place in the world for their ventures and pledged that the government would do more to increase their participation.
Turkey, in its National Employment Strategy 2014-2023, aims to reach 41 percent female participation in the labor market while the government has offered a set of subsidies for the would-be female entrepreneurs.
The state support, in the form of soft or non-recourse loans, provides female entrepreneurs an opportunity to set up a new business or expand their existing businesses. The government also offers training and workshops for female entrepreneurs.