Turkey strides toward the inclusion of more women in the workforce through government-sponsored initiatives, but the number of women remain far below men in state-owned public enterprises known as KİTs.
Figures compiled by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) show that 90.3 percent of the staff in those enterprises, ranging from a natural gas company to a major tea producer, are men. This means roughly only one out of 10 staff members is a woman. Figures presented in a Finance Ministry report from 2017 highlighted the need to increase the number of women in public enterprises, especially when compared to public institutions, like the civil service and bureaucracy, which have managed to raise the number of women.
In the past decade, the country sold most KİTs, which were conceived in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, as a way to boost the economy. A number of companies with strategic value still remain under state ownership though. The number of personnel employed by those enterprises was reduced to 101,306 from about 200,000 in 2000 and a quarter of them are older employees.
Striving to break male domination in the country's workforce, Turkey has managed to significantly boost its female employment rate to 34.7 percent, a substantial increase compared to figures more than a decade ago. The increase is partly the result of incentives by the government for working women, especially mothers who often choose caring for their children over full-time jobs. Gender equality and affirmative action for women are high on the agenda of the government. In his party's manifesto ahead of the last elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to end "every tradition of the age of ignorance targeting women."
The Family and Social Justice Ministry already works to empower women with projects to improve gender equality for women, who have lagged behind men in every field, courtesy of a patriarchal mindset. In recent years, the government rolled out a series of incentives for working women, from longer maternity leaves to financial support for daycare needs, as well as payments to grandparents caring for their grandchildren with working parents.
The government set the bar higher to increase the employment rate to at least 41 percent in the near future and decrease illegal labor by women to at least 30 percent. As for female entrepreneurs, the government plans to extend loans to more women willing to set up their own business. Women are already provided up to TL 50,000 ($9,549) for loans.