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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 Dec 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Plan to Train Women for Senior Mosque Roles in Britain Is ‘Exemplary’

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 Dec 2018

MENTORING MEASURE: The initiative helps Muslim women develop skills needed in leadership roles



 Kuwait Will Not Grant Work Permit to Moroccan, Tunisian Women Without A Male Kin

 Alawwal Bank Hones Women’s Leadership Skills

 Taif’s First Female Tour Guide Excited About Her Job

 Malala Yousafzai to Receive Harvard Award for Activism

 Feminism vs. Islamism: Meet Middle East Women's Coalition

 UN Women Executive Director Urges People To Raise Voice Against Child Marriages 

 'Afghan Women's Engagement In Decision-Making Processes Remains Symbolic'

 Two Female Political Prisoners Illegally Summoned For The Second Time

 Turkish Women Mark 84th Year Of Suffrage

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Plan to Train Women for Senior Mosque Roles in Britain Is ‘Exemplary’

December 5, 2018

A SCHEME designed to help Muslim women reach senior levels in mosques has been praised by a participant, who said she hopes it encourages others to aspire for future leadership roles.

The Women in Mosques Development Programme is tailored to support female leaders who wish to find roles in mosque boards or managerial positions.

Organised by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), it offers a chance for women to help develop skills which could benefit them in senior positions, such as public speaking training and event planning.

Launched on March 7, and intended to coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8), the initiative urged Muslim women to apply for the scheme.

Maysoon Shafiq, 33, is one of 20 women who was chosen for the plan earlier this year.

The six-month training, which will finish this month, has been pivotal in helping Shafiq gain confidence to apply for a higher role in a mosque.

“As a woman leader, [the programme helps you] feel confident enough to put yourself forward in the position,” she told Eastern Eye. “Should a situation arise where the application process opens in the mosque, it means you feel prepared.”

Some organisations have already raised concerns about a lack of equality within mosques and demanded females have more of a role in decision making bodies.

The Scottish Mosques for All launched a campaign in August calling for equal prayer space and more women being present as mosque trustees or at a managerial level.

In 2015, the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford announced it was hoping to raise money to help set up a women-led mosque.

Shafiq, who acknowledged the lack of female representation in boards or management committees, hopes the pilot scheme will raise aspirations for mosques to appoint more women in senior roles.

“There has never been such a programme solely for women,” she noted.

“It appealed to me because there is a definite lack of female leaders [in mosques].”

Shafiq has a legal background, having worked in the sector for 10 years, and has also obtained teaching qualifications including a PGCE. Using her prior experience, she is currently teaching at her local mosque in Huddersfield, west Yorkshire.

However, she was concerned that this role could pigeonhole her opportunities.

“I just teach in the mosque, but I think I want to take it further,” she said. “I don’t want to limit myself because you do need more leaders in mosques.”

The women are also offered one-to-one mentoring opportunities. They can speak regularly to their mentors, who can be community leaders or part of a management committee, and can provide guidance if needed.

Amanda Morris, a mentor on the programme, was appointed as a committee member of Dar ul-Isra mosque in Cardiff three years ago. Her main role is as head of new Muslim support.

She told Eastern Eye that the most rewarding part of her experience as a mentor was seeing the women she worked with grow in confidence.

“My mentee is an amazingly qualified and capable individual, with a wealth of experiences, but the barriers we may face as women means we often grow to doubt our own skills,” Morris said.

“Mentoring is helping women to overcome these self-doubts and believe in their own abilities.”

She added her belief that the programme would give many women the drive to succeed.

There was still much to be done with creating opportunities, Morris explained, but by showcasing mosques and other organisations as examples of best practice, a cultural shift can be encouraged.

When questioned about the changing attitudes in the 21st century about women in mosques, Shafiq referred to the women in the time of the Prophet Muhammad. His wife Aisha was represented as a role model and was a leader in a mosque, she said.

“If we look at the periodic times, women in mosques was the norm and now it isn’t,” Shafiq revealed. “It is a privilege to have MCB really instill that. It is great to get more women involved.”



Kuwait Will Not Grant Work Permit to Moroccan, Tunisian Women Without A Male Kin

Dec 5, 2018

Moroccan and Tunisian women below the age of 40 will need the company of a close blood-related male kin known as “mahram” in Islam (brother, husband, uncle, or father) to be able to work in Kuwait.

Kuwait’s Public Authority of Manpower announced the decision that women under the age of 40 will need to be accompanied by a close male relative, in addition to a security clearance in order to receive a work permit.

The same source maintained that Kuwait’s decision came with the consent of the three countries, Morocco, Lebanon, and Tunisia.

The new restrictions, which do not apply to women of other nationalities, have sparked online controversy as to why these three nationalities were singled out.

Many social media commentators linked Kuwait’s new ban to stereotypes against Moroccan women, basing their judgment on those who have engaged in prostitution in the Middle East.

“Why Morocco and Tunisia?” some commentators wondered, questioning why the country did not put restrictions on women from other nationalities such as Egyptians or Syrians.

The new situation of women from these countries in Kuwait may become similar to that of women in Saudi Arabia. Women are not allowed to travel alone without the company of a mahram in the kingdom, not even while  performing the hajj pilgrimage.



Alawwal Bank Hones Women’s Leadership Skills

December 05, 2018

Alawwal Bank has launched a “Women’s Leadership Program” designed to help young Saudi women to progress into leadership roles.

The three-day program offers talented women in the early stages of their career a chance to learn some of the skills required to succeed. The participants worked through sessions addressing key pillars of effective leadership including time management, building trust, handling critical conversations and the role of self-belief. The program also offers a good networking opportunity to meet women across different industries.

Soren Nikolajsen, managing director of Alawwal Bank, said: “As a large employer in the Kingdom, it’s part of our responsibility to make sure we facilitate and support women in their ambitions — and make it possible for them to compete on equal terms with their male colleagues and have great careers. Creating better gender diversity in the workforce also has enormous upside and makes good business sense. Good for companies in general and good for the Kingdom overall.”

The first edition of Alawwal Bank’s “Women’s Leadership Program” was attended by 22 women from 13 different companies, including Alawwal Bank and representatives from the public sector, and key industry players.

One of the participants in the program, Sarah bin Dekhail, senior supervisor — business development, ACWA Power, said: “The reliance on technical skills solely as a prime factor to get into leadership positions whilst overlooking interpersonal skills is scientifically proven to be impractical and heavily unviable in multiple industries — that’s probably the most important thing I’ve learned in this course.”

She added: “I would like to thank Alawwal Bank for bringing such a niche group of professional women together from different corporate backgrounds, this made for some really interesting discussions.”

Nikolajsen added: “Increasing the proportion of women in the workforce is an important element of Vision 2030. With our new ‘Women’s Leadership Program’ we hope to help not only our valued female employees, but also some from other institutions.”

Additional sessions of the program are being scheduled over the coming months in different parts of the Kingdom.



Taif’s First Female Tour Guide Excited About Her Job


The first female tourist guide in Taif, Shahad Al-Sufyani, reassured Saudi women of their ability to handle the work.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Al-Sufyani has said the Taif people welcome tourists with warm hearts and they are happy for Saudi women to work in this sector.

She said she did not face any obstacles in her work while adding that all those she dealt with accepted the presence of women in the sector.

She said it was a great experience for her to meet with tourists and guide them to historic locations in Taif.

She added, “As a tourist guide, I met with people from different cultures including great personalities. Taif is becoming an important tourists destination during the Haj and Umrah season, especially as the airport in the city is becoming an international one.”

She said some tourist offices in the city contact her when they have tourism delegations. Sometimes she receives personal requests to act as a tour guide.

Al-Sufyani says Taif has been a very important city since ancient times. It used to a summer destination for Makkah businessmen. King Abdul Aziz approved the city as the summer capital of the Kingdom in 1924 (1343 AH).



Malala Yousafzai to Receive Harvard Award for Activism

December 06, 2018

Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai is being honoured by Harvard University for her work promoting girls' education.

Harvard's Kennedy School says Yousafzai will be awarded the 2018 Gleitsman Award at a ceremony on Thursday.

Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when she was recognised for her global work supporting schooling for all children.

As a teen in Pakistan, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. She later founded the nonprofit Malala Fund to support her work.

Harvard officials say her story has inspired a generation of boys and girls to follow in her footsteps.

Now 21, Yousafzai is a student at Oxford University in England.

The Gleitsman Award provides $125,000 for activism that has improved quality of life around the world.



Feminism vs. Islamism: Meet Middle East Women's Coalition

December 06, 2018

WASHINGTON – The question has long been asked: Why do feminists give Islamists a pass?

Maybe that question will be answered next Tuesday when the Coalition for Middle Eastern Women’s Rights announces itself at a press club unveiling.

Hot issues for the group including ending “the barbaric practices of child marriages, genital mutilations, honor killings and dress code restrictions by initiating a cultural and religious revolution.”

The group bills itself as “a union of hundreds of women of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S. who are actively working to promote gender equality throughout the world. It includes doctors, lawyers, authors, and celebrities. We are committed to informing the American people about the plight of Middle Eastern women, in the hope of reaching as wide an audience as possible. We will not relent in our fight for women’s rights and our staunch opposition to Middle Eastern practices such as child marriages, genital mutilation, violence directed against women, repressive Islamic dress codes, polygamy, temporary and arranged marriages, honor killings, and unfair inheritance laws.”

The leaders include President Rabia Kazan, Turkish bestselling author, and Vice President Ola Hawatmeh, Lebanese American fashion designer, and about 20 other board members.

“We came to this country because of the freedoms and rights offered to all citizens regardless of gender under the U.S. Constitution,” they offered in a recent statement. “We are proud to be American citizens. But we recognize that millions of women in the Middle East don’t enjoy these freedoms, and are forced to live under fanatical and repressive religious regimes, denied basic human rights, freedoms and dignity. Our mission is to give voice to these oppressed women and promote a greater awareness of their suffering. We will not rest until these women are granted full equal rights to those of Middle Eastern men, and treated with honor, respect and dignity.”

They also have a beef with the media, saying they do not provide “sufficient coverage to the plight of these women or give adequate voice to the abhorrent conditions under which they live.”

They also see blindness on the left side of the political spectrum.

Other key issues for the group include:

Freedom from their peer violence. We want to see the world free of violence against women in all its forms.

Economic freedom and justice. We envision the women and girls to have a choice in the work they chose and are paid equally; and have all the rights within the workplace.



UN Women Executive Director Urges People To Raise Voice Against Child Marriages 

Sanjay Mathrani 

DECEMBER 5, 2018

HYDERABAD: Making one of Pakistan’s most impoverished districts the first stop of her first official visit to the country, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Wednesday called upon the entire community to end child marriages and voice their commitment to change the lives of girls and young women for the better future.

“Becoming a ‘zero child-marriage’ village will require everyone’s efforts. Girls and young women must have power to make their own decisions. They need to know that they are not anyone’s property. They have both rights and a voice to say no,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said in her dialogue with over 300 residents, notables of the area, government officials, civil society representatives and members of the local press.

They gathered at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Cultural Complex in the district capital, Mithi, at an event to mark the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign.

“When the whole nation commits to tackling deep-rooted traditions like child marriage head-on, millions of girls stand to benefit. This is also a task for men, who can accelerate progress by saying simply ‘I will not marry a child’,” the Executive Director said.

Calling on religious and traditional leaders to use their position of authority to take a stance against violence and protect the rights of girls, Malmbo-Ngcuka received pledges from religious clerics, registrars and local politicians to make Thar as a ‘zero child marriage’ village and set an example for others to follow.

It is estimated that there are 650 million women and girls in the world today who were married before age 18. During the past decade, the global rate of child marriage has declined from one in four young women aged 20-24 to almost one in five.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka encouraged families and the community to become more vigilant to prevent and report cases of under-aged marriage. She also urged the religious leaders who solemnize marriages to confirm whether the bride and groom are of legal age, stressing the importance of birth certificates and national identity cards for age verification.

“The decision to marry should be a freely made, informed decision that is taken without fear, coercion, or undue pressure,” said the Executive Director. “By speaking out against child marriage, religious and traditional leaders can help to change the social and cultural norms that perpetuate the practice even when there are laws in place to prevent it.”

Social and gender inequality, a desire to control women’s sexuality and protect family honour, economic hardship and lack of awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage are common driving factors.

The Minister for Women Development for the province of Sindh, Syeda Shehla Raza, said that early child marriage is among the contributing factors to both relatively high rates of maternal and child mortality in Tharparkar, which needs urgent attention through multi-pronged interventions. She added that the government of Sindh is doing everything possible to ensure the implementation of laws related to women’s health and the social, political and economic empowerment of women.

However, Minister Raza said more public awareness and oversight by relevant authorities are needed to ensure adherence to the law. She thanked Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka for her visit in Tharparkar, saying that she hopes it will amplify the collective efforts to fight early child marriage, not only in Sindh but across the nation.

Child marriage is a fundamental human rights violation that constitutes a grave threat to young girls’ lives, health and future prospects. The right to ‘free and full’ consent to a marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the recognition that consent cannot be ‘free and full’ when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner.

“This (child marriage) issue needs a continuous and focused effort, and we are thankful to UN for supporting the Sindh commission on the status of women in conducting the training of marriage registrars all over Sindh which will involve local government officers, commissioners and union councils,” said Nuzhat Shirin, Chair of the Sindh commission on the status of women.



'Afghan Women's Engagement In Decision-Making Processes Remains Symbolic'

December 5, 2018

Samira Hamidi is an Afghan women’s rights activist focusing on women, peace and security as well as human rights and civil society. She has been the former director for Afghan Women’s Network as well as has chaired the board of network.

In an interview to Tehran Times, Ms. Hamidi spoke about the Geneva conference on Afghanistan, peace negotiations with the Taliban, and why it's important to meaningfully engage women in key decision-making processes, including peace talks.

Following are the excerpts:

Q. Last week's conference on Afghanistan in Geneva sought to measure progress made by the Afghan government in using billions of dollars in foreign aid since the last donors conference in 2016. How do you see the 'progress' in terms of reconstruction efforts and fight against corruption?

A. Since Brussels conference 2016, the government's efforts in addressing the reconstruction gaps and fighting corruption were highlighted as big achievements in the Geneva conference.

While there have been a number of development initiatives, there is little information available on how the menace of corruption is being combated.

The government has in the last year highlighted that some officials involved in corruption were caught up and prosecuted, however there is no proper monitoring and reporting to find out what happens to those arrested and how they are prosecuted. In most cases senior government officials, parliamentarians and senators intervene and support those who are found guilty.

Economically, the situation has worsened for normal citizens in the country. The exchange rate was 1 US$ to 47 Afghanis in 2016, and now it is 1 US$ to 75. With the jump in exchange, the prices have skyrocketed where the ordinary citizens are deprived of basic needs.

Q. In a joint communiqué, the conference participants agreed that peace in Afghanistan must be based on a broad political consensus across the society. What is your take on this? And how can women be included in this process?

A. The peace process in 2010 started after 1600 Afghans from 34 provinces gathered at national peace consultative jirga and agreed on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

The political consensus for the peace process is a very sensitive issue. While the Afghan government claims that it has consulted Afghans from a crosssection of society, the consultation has actually been limited to those groups that the presidential palace wanted.

In terms of women’s participation, while 370 women participated in national peace consultative jirga, women were included as members of high peace council (HPC) and provincial peace councils. There has been a huge gap in terms of their meaningful inclusion in discussions and decisions related to peace process, finding solutions and addressing the community’s needs.

Women are usually consulted by President for the women’s rights agenda. Women are not yet considered and respected as equal partners in key decision-making processes.

In order to include women, it is important to address it at different levels. In Geneva conference, three women were included with 9 men, as 12-member negotiation team for the talks. While this marked a big achievement for women advocacy, it is also important to push President and other actors to meaningfully engage women not only on women’s rights issues but on peace process, conflict resolution, conflict analysis and post-peace negotiation effort.

Q. Recently we have seen 'peace negotiations' with the Taliban facilitated by Moscow and Washington even as the insurgent group has upped the ante, carrying out attacks on civilians across the country. Do you think dialogue and violence can go together?

A. Afghanistan has entered a totally new phase of the peace process where the Taliban has showed willingness to speak to the United States and the government has come up with a roadmap to peace document and formed a negotiation team.

The current peace process in Afghanistan is at the pre-negotiation stage. At this stage despite the fact that both Afghan government and Taliban have shown interest in entering peace talks, the pre-conditions from both sides are dangerous and the reason for ongoing conflict.

Taliban by continuing their attacks, specifically on civilians, are trying to use their leverage of violence to force Afghan government to accept their pre-conditions.

Any pre-peace negotiation effort, either facilitated by a third party (here U.S.) or held directly must conditionalize ceasefire. Any effort without ceasefire will be in vain as the call of victims of conflict will be ignored and ordinary people will continue to pay the high price of their lives.

Q. The war in Afghanistan has now stretched into its 18th year with no end in sight. Why has the U.S. led coalition that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 failed in its mission to bring peace to the war-ravaged country?

A. There are many narratives regarding the failure of the U.S. led coalition post 2001. Some of the major reasons would be, blocking the space for Taliban to participate in 2001 Bonn conference on Afghanistan, considering Taliban as an irrelevant insurgent group between 2001 and 2007 and not addressing the root causes of conflict at the national level.

At the international level, the U.S. and other international actors shifted their priority very quickly from Afghanistan to Syria, Yemen and other conflicts. This enabled the Taliban to grow back from strength to strength, find internal influence, use opium for financial support and amass support among neighboring countries.

The U.S. and other international actors also failed to support Afghan National Security Forces technically and equip them with the needed ammunition and equipment. After the 2014 withdrawal of international forces, which was a very irresponsible decision timed and choreographed wrongly, the Taliban used all their leverage to up the ante, using the weakness of the security forces.

Some of the attacks in last few years like the attack in Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Military Hospital, the army base in Balkh and Khost, the attack at Intercontinental Hotel or Serena Hotel, have shown that the Taliban are fully aware of the weak intelligence system, have influence and support from within the system.

All these attacks were never investigated. Despite huge number of human losses in each of these attacks, no one was held accountable or prosecuted.

Q. Preparations are afoot for the presidential election next year, but the fear of fraud and violence looms large as was witnessed in 2014 elections and more recently in parliamentary elections. What needs to be done to address concerns regarding fraud and violence?

A. The independence of the Afghanistan Election Commission is one of the biggest challenges ahead of presidential election.

A couple of months back, an election commissioner resigned and spoke of the reason for his resignation, citing lack of independence and interference of President in the commission’s work. Since President Ghani is planning to run for the second time, he can definitely use the commission in his favor if drastic reforms are not immediately introduced in the commission.

Secondly, in the 2018 parliamentary election, the election commission failed to address the technical challenges in Kabul, which is the capital and where accessibility is not a major issue.

If the international community does not put pressure on the election commission for institutional changes, there can be massive fraud and irregularities in the presidential election next year.

The election commission members who fail to address these challenges should be immediately replaced with those with extensive knowledge in election matters and strong background on transparency and accountability.

Q. What has been your personal experience as a women's rights activist in Afghanistan. Do you think women in Afghanistan have reclaimed their space in political and social sphere over the years?

A. Women in Afghanistan have reclaimed their space in a fair manner. It is good to witness presence of women in union cabinet, parliament, senate as well as different ministries, independent commissions and embassies.

It is also good to see a women representative in a body like High Peace Council. However, there is difference between representation and meaningful engagement.

While women have physical presence, their engagement at the national level, technical oversight as well as equal inclusion in national programs, discussion and decisions has remained symbolic.

Women recruitments have been mostly made based on favoritism and influence in the presidential palace, rather than merit, qualifications, experience and competence.

The recent appointment of three women in the peace negotiation team is encouraging, however, all the three women are holding key government positions — as an acting minister, a deputy minister and a member of parliament.

I wonder how they will be able to deliver in both the jobs. While it is same for men, but they can get away with their failings, unlike women. Those women who join the government mostly become silent. They stop advocacy efforts that the women outside the government are engaged in. This is another major reason where women are politically engaged but unfortunately also paralyzed to question the government in relation to its weaknesses and shortcomings.

Women have relatively found their social space. Presence of women in media, women’s movement, women NGOs as well as doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, government employees is encouraging. But Afghanistan is a diverse country where the living situation, the cultural and traditional practices vary from province to province.

While women's social presence is very strong in cities like Kabul, Balkh and Herat, it is also important to highlight that women are hardly found in public sphere in provinces like Khost, Kandahar and Kunar.

While Afghan government has legislations and polices in place, and is accountable to international treaties, there is a complete lack of political will at the provincial and district level. Women are not considered equal members of the society, they are not considered important to be consulted and they are not given any decision-making role.

Increasing insecurity, lack of implementation of law on ending violence against women, and continuous discrimination and harassment against women at work places and in society are also some of the problems that women in this country are facing.

Q. Where do you see Afghanistan 10 years down the line?

A. With an accountable government that has a vision of peace, justice and inclusion, ensuring all citizens are safe and enjoying their most fundamental rights.



Two Female Political Prisoners Illegally Summoned For The Second Time

05 December 2018

Two female political prisoners in Evin Prison, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee, have been summoned to the prosecutor's office of Branch 5 of Evin Prison for the second time.

On November 13, 2018, reacting to an oral and informal summon by prison authorities, the two female political prisoners refused to appear before the 5th Branch of the Prosecutor's Office of Evin. One of the two female political prisoners, Atena Daemi, published an open letter and announced her reason for not attending the prosecutor's office and the judiciary’s lack of independence.

In parts of this letter Atena Daemi wrote:

"This is the fifth time in the past two years, that I've been summoned this way to the prosecutor’s office for various reasons and often because of the complaints and conspiracy of Ali Chaharmahali, the Warden of Evin Prison.

“I have not attended any of them, and so far I have been acquitted from all the allegations. But it seems that until his exertions lead to another imprisonment sentence, the Warden of Evin Prison will make all his effort, abandoning all the important work of other prisoners, to spend his time on these conspiracies.

“And in this case, his wife (Salami) and two other personnel of the women’s ward Abdulhamidi (Head of the ward) and Shirin Esmaili (Deputy of the ward), are also helping him.

“Last year, after were several times contacted inside the ward, we were told that we have to go to the Office of the Implementation of the Verdicts in Evin to meet with the interrogator in charge of our cases. Due to the illegality of such meetings, we refused to go to the Implementation Office which eventually led to being arrested inside the women's ward of Evin Prison. Not only we were not transferred to the Implementation Office, but were sent directly to Ward 2A of the IRGC Tharallah Corps. There, we were beaten up and sent to exile in Qarchak Prison for three and a half months. Now, only a month after we returned to Evin, we were informed about our acquittal of the case for which we had been transferred to Qarchak.

“Now, why and on what basis should we trust a dispatch sheet, which does not even mention the reason for the summon and the name of the person who has issued it? In fact, this is another evidence on the persons who are violating the law.

“Now, our protest against this unlawful summon will lead to another summon and another groundless accusation."



Turkish Women Mark 84th Year Of Suffrage

December 06, 2018

Turkish women Wednesday marked the 84th anniversary of suffrage, which is celebrated as Women's Rights Day.

Women in the country, who were among the first in Europe to be granted suffrage, were given the right to vote and stand for electoral office through a constitutional amendment in 1934, more than a decade after the foundation of the Republic.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu marked the day through Twitter messages, pointing out to the role of the Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in empowering women.

Lawmakers in the Parliament also marked women's suffrage with speeches and press conferences.

Throughout Turkey, women's branches of political parties, women's associations and other institutions held events with the common theme of increasing women's role in politics and economy.

In Amasya, Tokat and Van provinces, female non-commissioned officers of the Gendarmerie Command conducted road checks, distributed flyers, neckwears and flowers, and attended events.

In the past decade, Turkey has seen an increase in the number of women elected to Parliament and the assignment of more women to higher offices in government.

Women's fight for suffrage started early in the 20th century in Turkey – then ruled by a monarchy – but they faced other obstacles after the country switched to a parliamentary system as they failed to have suffrage added to the new constitution in 1924.

Between 1930 and 1934, they were gradually granted the right to vote and to be elected, first to vote in municipal elections and to stand for municipal council elections and finally in 1934, to vote and be nominated for seats in Parliament.

In Parliament in 1935, 4.5 percent of lawmakers were women. This number increased in the following decades, but it stayed below 10 percent until the 2011 elections.

Today, there are 104 women among the 600 lawmakers: 17.4 percent of lawmakers in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.




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