The concept of poverty, defined as deprivation of capabilities and feasibilities, in the context of Amartya Sen’s “The Capability Approach” is explained through ideas of “what people can or cannot do” and “what they can be or cannot be” rather than through their income or expense tendencies. In this study, conducted to understand the poverty conditions of women living in Turkey, the participants were asked “what are the things they want to do but cannot do?”, “what do they want to be but cannot be?”, both from the perspective of being deprived of capabilities. The answers given were evaluated from the perspective of The Capability Approach.

In this study, 741 women living in seven different cities selected from seven geographical regions of Turkey were asked to select the things “they want to do but cannot do”, “they want to be but cannot be” among the given statements or write in their own words within “the other” option. In the following section, they were asked to explain why “they cannot do” or “they cannot be”. The answers given are the explanation of on what aspects and why women are deprived; in other words, why they are impoverished. Accordingly, women living in Turkey gave such answers as they cannot travel alone or go on a vacation, cannot drive, cannot live as they wish, and cannot spare time for themselves. When the reasons were asked, they provided mainly such explanations as financial incapability, not being allowed by family elders, social pressure, and lack of self-confidence. Having education and a profession are also stated as the things that the participants most wanted to have but cannot have. Why they cannot have these are explained with reasons as, again, financial incapability, not being allowed by family elders, or not being able to spare time.

Note on the Author

Dr. Senem Kurt Topuz received her PhD degree from Gazi University in the field of Politics and Social Sciences in 2010 and has been working as an assistant professor at Abant Izzet Baysal University, Public Administration Department since 2011. Her research focuses on Gender Studies, Poverty, Discrimination, and Marginal Groups.

Dr. Hülya Erkanli received her PhD degree from Ankara University in the field of Business Administration in 2009 and has been working as an Assistant Professor at Abant İzzet Baysal University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Business Administration since then. Her research interests focus on Management and Organization, Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior, and Gender Studies.