Although the role of women in business life has increased in Turkey, women still have not been able to enjoy the same rights as men.
Reports show that the participation and unemployment rates of women in Turkey, when compared with European Union member states, have not reached the levels we would like them to.
Women's employment rates raise at a much faster pace than men's. Whilst the participation rate of women in working life in Turkey is only 26 percent, the employment rate of women is only 23 percent. In EU member states women's employment rate stood at 55 percent in 2006, having risen from 53.6 percent in 2000. Source: European Commission
Women in Turkey earn approximately 35% less than men, where as in EU countries the difference is only 15%.
If we look closer in EU countries, the gap is smallest in northen Europe. Larger gaps exist in southern EU member states like Spain, Greece and Italy. The worst offender is the UK, where women earn on average 30% less than men, while new member states such as Malta, Hungary and Poland are relatively well, with gaps between 10% and 15%.
It is perceived that women still face a number of factors that limit their equal participation in working life and function as a so-called glass ceiling.
Transparency of recruitment and salary differences are among the issues that hamper women's equal participation in working life.
One of the clichés regarding women in working life in Turkey is that women managers can be successfull mainly in the service sector. However women can succeed also in industrial sectors like oil.
Let's leave clichés aside about women succeeding only in services, and we should focus on the contribution of women to the competitivenes of companies, taking into account the drive toward knowledge-based economy and the business life in 21st century.