Podcast 103 - Gender equality scorecard of 81 cities

07 Apr 2014

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UNDP Turkey: This is the New Horizons podcasts of United Nations Development Programme Turkey. In this episode, we will talk about a study that examines and evaluates the gender equality performance of Turkey’s 81 cities and our contributor is Ülker Şener who is  a researcher from the Department of Governance Studies of Economic Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). Welcome.

Ülker Şener: Thank you.

UNDP Turkey: You carried out this study with Hülya Demirdirek and you have recently published it, first of all thank you for this comprehensive report. In your study, you adjusted Gender Inequality Index that United Nation Development Program (UNDP) uses it in its Human Development Report to compare countries, sure you done this by modifying certain indicators. Why did you benefited from Gender Inequality Index as a starting point of Gender Equality Index?

Ülker Şener: First of all thank you for your invitation. We thought like that there are 81 cities in Turkey, we first wanted to compare these 81 cities according to women’s situations like UN that compares countries with each other and we decided to form a gender equality scorecard. While we were creating these cards, we developed two different methods. One of these methods, as you said before, we adjusted the UN’s gender inequality into cities, other is we determined indicators that would show the situation of women in five sectors, those are education, health, service delivery, employment and decision making procedure, we evaluated cities over these indicators. Actually we have two main objectives, one of them, we wanted to provide a tool for local administrations, and we wanted to introduce a tool for them. We wanted that local administration evaluates their cities and administrations through these indicators and we wanted that they observe in which field their cities are bad and fall behind or in which field they are good. In this way they can introduce new policies in fields that they are weak or bad and they can transform cities into areas that give better living opportunities to women. Here we sorted provinces like UN which sorts countries.

UNDP Turkey:  And by year of 2004, you took a picture of 81 cities under this title. Gender Equality Index, let’s talk about indicators of index because there are certain headings in each index and certain indicators are used to understand the progress in those headings or the current situation. Which indicators did you deal with under the five themes that you mentioned?

Ülker Şener: At first let me say that when we were sorting 81 cities, we wanted to create jealousy between cities. We wanted to have them said how come Tunceli is second but İzmir is at 19th place or how come Diyarbakır is at 34th place so we wanted to create such smooth rivalry between them.

UNDP Turkey: In this sense, benefits of index become evident, isn’t it? The same goes for both indices that are internationally made and indices made for provinces.

Ülker Şener: The UN uses five indicators while forming its own index, Gender Inequality Index. One of these is representation in the parliament, the rate of women in the parliament; others are child mother, the mother death rate, women employment and education, graduation rate in secondary education and in higher education. This is an index that UN uses. Here we made amendments; we made small changes originating from data problems. We took child motherhood and mother death rate as an indicator again; education also exists in our indicators but we took registered women employment rate generated by Social Security Institution as an indicator instead of women employment rate, since women employment rate at provincial level is not produced in Turkey, it is only generated at regional level that we call as nats-2.

UNDP Turkey: It is a data generated on the basis of cities.

Ülker Şener: It is generated on the basis of cities but you can only see registered women employment in that city.

UNDP Turkey: Hereby, it gives us an idea.

Ülker Şener: It gives an idea, it shows a tendency. For instance when we look at figures in Turkey, İstanbul is at first, Tekirdağ is second, and Ankara and İzmir also take place near the top. We know from other data that women are more employed in those cities for this reason it shows a tendency. We used women representation rate in the Municipal Council as an indicator instead of women representation rate in the Parliament, we sorted cities according to these five indicators.

UNDP Turkey: As a result you formed an index special to Turkey benefiting from existing, accessible data on the condition that themes remain the same. This report can be reached from TEPAV’s website, from tepav.org.tr; those who listen to us can download and examine it. Let’s continue our talk. You formed cities’ gender inequality score cards through collecting data and evaluations. You sorted 81 cities in line with your index but what good would it do, you have already a little talk about and why did you embrace such kind of method?

Ülker Şener: First, this scorecard is useful tool in self-evaluation of cities. That is to say there has been any tool to compare locals and cities up until today, we could have it through this, now each city can evaluate itself. Second, it would lead cities in policy making process. For instance, after we made this study, in the field of health, many child motherhood stories and the high rate of child motherhood in Ağrı, Kars, Muş and Nevşehir are reported in the news. Thereon, Directorate of Health of those cities made comebacks about child motherhood. Actually, while this scorecard is laying bare cities’ situation in certain points, it also raised awareness. It pointed to the case of child motherhood in Ağrı, Kars, Niğde and Nevşehir. Policy makers would probably bring child motherhood into question and they would propose new policies to prevent child motherhood if they have such a political aim, I say that in inverted commas. Second, as I said before cities reviewed themselves, this data will help them in policy making process and they will be aware of in which field they should develop policy, they will do a prioritization in a way. In the end, local administrations have many resources, where these resources will be used. For instance, if they have resources for women, in which field they should use it, should they mainly use in education or if participation to decision making mechanism is too low, should they use an action plan to increase the participation.  Here, we can give İzmir as an example; İzmir is at 70th place in women representation rate in the Izmir Municipal Council within 81 provinces, after we published this scorecard, we were mostly called by civil society organizations in Izmir and they said, ‘We are glad that you developed this scorecard because now, we are going to show İzmir’s situation in the score card when we go to municipality, politicians, political parties.” Do you see? Tunceli is the second however İzmir became the 19th in this index. In decision making mechanisms, İzmir becomes the 70th city among 81 cities in Turkey. They add, ‘We are going to ask: is this what befit İzmir?’

UNDP Turkey: So then, let me emphasize that you do different sorting for each theme.

Ülker Şener: Sure.

UNDP Turkey: Those who listen to us wonder which cities failed, which cities succeeded in inverted commas, to what extent they succeeded is another issue.

Ülker Şener: Then let me enumerate top five. The firs city of the index is Istanbul, second is Tunceli, third is Bolu, fourth is Düzce, and fifth is Eskişehir. People mostly wonder Tunceli among these cities and they ask how Tunceli placed in second and how it left other behind.  One of these is participation to decision making process; Diyarbakır is at first in Municipal Council’s women rate, Tunceli is second in this rate. This directly heaves Tunceli up but it does not change the place of Diyarbakır because Tunceli has the edge over other cities in terms of level of education, so Tunceli takes a place within top 20 of the high-school graduate and university graduate rates. Above all Tunceli is a city where child motherhood is at minimum, Trabzon and Rize follows Tunceli. That is to say Tunceli is at higher rank in index due to it is good at three indicators. The only bad side of Tunceli is mother death rate. Actually we cannot be sure about the situation of Tunceli because we had to constitute the regional mother death rate since it is not generated on a city basis. By the way, maybe mother death rate is better in Tunceli but if so it would get ahead of İstanbul.

UNDP Turkey:  There are some situations in which cities should take example from each other, they triumph over others or they fall behind others, this can be clearly followed in your report. You went those cities, made examinations, you made a vigorous effort and you listed priority workings that should be made to ensure gender equality on the basis of cities and local administrations. If you please, let’s talk about it.

Ülker Şener: First of all it should be remarked that gender awareness is at minimum level in locals. As an illustration, when we talked with municipals, we asked them, “Is there any special unit on gender equality within your municipality?”and “Is there a women center  or a unit for women?”.  Many of them told us they heard about the concept of women center and women unit for the first time and many of them said that there was no need such kind of special units; they provided same services to all citizens without doing gender discrimination. We should say that we should discriminate between women and men because if we do not discriminate between women and men, we cannot be conscious of women’s disadvantageous position and we cannot develop policies for them. For this reason, the first think that should be done is that municipals and other institutions should produces gender sensible data and policies while they generate data and develop policies. For instance, one of these tools is gender sensible budgeting. What I mean for gender sensible budgeting is that each province should lay bare the problems of women who reside in their province. Do women really benefit from services provided by municipals or other local administrations as much as men benefit? In what sense women and men are affected from policies implemented by local administration? We think that women and men are affected differently and what kind of problems do women have. Municipals should plan and implement their own activities taking all into consideration.

UNDP Turkey: There are many suggestions about different themes under the heading of suggestions in your report, we advice that those who are interested should look at it. Thank you for your participation researcher Ülker Şener from the Department of Governance Studies of Economic Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV)

Ülker Şener: Thank you.

UNDP Turkey: We come to the end of New Horizons podcast prepared by UNDP in Turkey. This program has been recorded at the studio of Radyo İlef of Ankara University Communications Department. You can follow our program on iTunes, Audioboo and Soundcloud in podcast format, on FM frequency in İstanbul, on Açık Radyo (Open Radio) on internet, on nearly fifty Police radios, on MYCY radio from Cyprus and also on university radios in our broadcasting network and on tr.undp.org. Our user name for social media is undpturkiye. Hope to see you soon, good bye!









In this episode, we talk about a study that examines and evaluates the gender equality performance of Turkey’s 81 cities.



Ülker Şener, Researcher from the Governance Studies of Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV)


Read the transcript