Women-Men Equal Opportunities Commission in Turkey
After more than 12 years of struggling and lobbying, the specialized commission for Gender equality will be established at the Turkish Grand National Assembly with the name of “Women-Men equal opportunities commission”.
The discussions over the name, and the clauses of the draft bill regarding the Commission took weeks long, since first it was approved at the Constitutional Commission on 19 January 2009 and later on was brought to the General Assembly on 17 February 2009. It is important, however, to highlight that the consensus of all political parties on the establishment of the Commission has been historical. Women parliamentarians have been acting together collaboratively with the lobby and support of women’s movement. This shows the positive impact of the increase in their presence in the Parliament from 24 to 50. The increased presence of women in the Parliament was reached in 2007 General Elections, thanks also to UNDP Turkey contribution throughout its projects in the area of enhancing women’s participation in politics and its gender mainstreaming efforts.
The Commission, which will work as an independent commission, will function with the authority of inspection, investigation, advice on legislation, monitoring of violations, and finally will have the responsibilities of elaborating in-depth yearly public reports.
The establishment of the parliamentary commission is a milestone in the sense that it can also trigger the institutional bases for gender equality at all decision making including local level. It also represents a turning point for the struggle of women’s movement in Turkey supported and backed by recommendations of UN-CEDAW Committee in 2005 and the European Parliament’s reports that had reiterate in multiple occasions the need for the establishment of a Commission on Equality between Women and Men.