Women in Northern Cyprus
Ziynet Sali, a female singer from Northern Cyprus
|Gender Inequality Index|
|Women in parliament||8% (2013)|
|Women in labour force||36.2% (2008)|
|Women in society|
The women in Northern Cyprus are inhabitants of the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, where they have been contributors to the fields of science, law and justice. However, several factors have inhibited women's participation in politics, and women constitute only 8% of the Assembly of the Republic. In 2013, Sibel Siber became the first female prime minister of Cyprus.
Northern Cyprus has one active women's shelter. In 2014, the parliament unanimously voted to establish a department promoting gender equality, which is establishing institutions for women's welfare.
Constraints affecting women who have entered politics in Northern Cyprus include investing time for home, motherhood, family, and political life. The fact that coffeehouses and meyhane (traditional drinking taverns), social spaces that have been traditionally reserved for men, remain central to Turkish Cypriot politics is a restraining factor for women. Even some regional headquarters of political parties function as coffeehouses.
As of 2010, there were only 7 female Northern Cypriots who held high-level positions in the Parliament of Northern Cyprus. The posts that the women occupied included parliamentarian and ministerial jobs, such as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the appointed Minister of Education. Fatma Ekenoğlu was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Onur Borman was the Minister of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and was also the Minister of the Ministry of Public Works between 1993 and 1999. Gülsen Bozkurt was the former Minister of the Ministry of Health. Gülin Sayiner was one of the first two elected female members of the Parliament of Northern Cyprus (Republican Assembly) and served from 1987 to 1993. Şerife Ünverdi used to be the Minister of Labor and Social Security. These women were able to reach out to voters of Northern Cyprus because of their medical backgrounds. In 2013, Sibel Siber became the first female prime minister of Northern Cyprus and is running for president from the ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP) in the 2015 presidential election. In spite of this, women constitute only 8% of the parliament as of 2015. Only 4 out of 47 female candidates were elected in the 2013 parliamentary election.
On February 29, 1980, Gönül Başaran Erönen became the first female Justice of Northern Cyprus. She was also appointed as the first female District Court Judge in Cyprus. At present, she is the only female justice of the Supreme Court on the whole island of Cyprus.
In 2015, a new Political Parties Law brought a quota requiring that at least 30% of candidates for member of parliament are selected from each sex by each party. Any party that does not fulfill this requirement may not participate in elections.
According to a 2008 survey by the State Planning Organization, only 36.2% of women participated in the workforce as opposed to 67.1% of men. Female unemployment rate was found to be 14%, as opposed to 7.6% for men.
The first and only academic research and training center for women in Northern Cyprus is the Center for Women's Studies (CWS) of the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). It was established on November 17, 1998. The Cyprus Research Center of the Near East University also conducts research on women's human rights in Northern Cyprus. The first women's shelter in Northern Cyprus was opened by the Foundation for the Prevention of Social Risks in 2011; the center has been supported by volunteers and companies. However, the shelter is unable to host the victims of human trafficking and prostitution due to concerns over safety and lack of resources.
In 2014, the Turkish Cypriot parliament unanimously approved the establishment of the Communal Gender Equality Department under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. The department has prioritized the establishment of women's shelters, Violence Prevention and Consultation Centers, a Council of Consultation and Monitoring and organizing annual gender equality conferences.
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