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Abstract

According to article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), States parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that women enjoy equality with men in political and public life. The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) declares in its General Recommendation No. 23 that while removal of de jure barriers is necessary, it is not sufficient to achieve full and equal participation of women in political and public life.

That is why under article 4 of CEDAW, the CEDAW Committee encourages adoption by States parties of temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women in order to give full effect to article 7 of CEDAW concerning the participation of women in political and public life. The CEDAW Committee makes reference to setting quotas within a range of measures to achieve equality of political participation.

Turkish women acquired the right to vote and to be elected in 1934 and representation of women in the Turkish Parliament began in 1935. Turkey also acceded to CEDAW in 1985. However, the political representation of women in the Turkish Parliament is still insufficient. In its last concluding observations on Turkey, the CEDAW Committee declared that it was concerned about the low participation of women at all levels of decision-making including the parliament which was below the global average.

This article analyzes the issue of women’s representation in the Turkish Parliament in light of CEDAW. It focuses on CEDAW Committee documents issued during seven reporting cycles. The article begins by examining Turkey’s national reports and CEDAW Committee reports related to seven reporting cycles, and then proceeds to discuss the main problems concerning women’s parliamentary representation on the basis of these documents.

Note on the Author

Sinem Yargıç is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Political Sciences of Istanbul University. She has published on constitutional law and international human rights law, including “L’influence du droit conventionnel Européen des droits de l’homme sur l’ordre juridique interne Turc” (L’Harmattan, 2013) and “Les conventions onusiennes des droits de l’homme: Analyse et perspectives” (L’Harmattan, 2018).

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