A major goal of the Turkish government is persuading the European Union to accept its application for membership, but a stumbling block in gaining entry has been gender inequity in Turkey. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan says if his nation is to gain membership there is need to pass new legislation dealing with issues of gender equality. He noted his country is following closely new proposals in the EU that improve equality for women in education and employment as well as strengthening parental leave needs. “Turkey is closely following the program to prevent violence against women and children,” he said. “We are planning to train judges, prosecutors, municipalities and security forces on violence against women.
There is a rather low level of female membership in Parliament and other government institutions. Many attribute this to the low level of schooling for females and gender bias. Turkey has done more in terms of gender equity than most Muslim nations in the region. It has yet to reach its goals, but there is sign of progress.