Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the specific reasons for the Turkish women in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus not reaching the same level of achievement in the political sphere as their male counterparts. The aim is to draw attention to the extremely low participation of women in politics (6 per cent) and suggest possible solutions to increase it. Design/methodology/approach – The study consists of interviews with seven women who played an active role in politics and who are still in the political arena as parliamentarians or ministers. Findings – It was found that the major political problem of the island, “the Cyprus problem”, has had a significant impact on the confinement of women in the private sphere. In addition, the divided land constitutes a higher restriction on women. Moreover, gatherings in coffeehouses and the time of such meetings are important difficulties. Furthermore, the women's branches of the political parties constitute a serious barrier. Research limitations/implications – The study focuses on a part of a small island, Cyprus. Therefore, it was possible to interview only seven women politicians. Practical implications – This paper is functional and interesting for those working with gender equality, particularly the obstacles that women face and their secondary role in the political arena. Originality/value – This paper provides new empirical data on gender equity in the context of the Turkish Cypriots and critically analyzes the specific situation of women politicians living on the island.
Equal Opportunities International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 7, 2008
Keywords: Women; Politics; National cultures; Cyprus
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