Thank you for a wonderful fall semester. I enjoyed your papers. Have a great Spring!
In our final class on Wednesday, reference was made to the Montreal Massacre, which occurred on December 6, 1989. This tragedy was a pivotal event in Canada. From a personal perspective, I can tell you that it marked a significant shift in the way that many Canadian women thought about issues of gender and violence. In some ways, it shocked us out of any sense of complacency we might have had about living in a country where gender equality was taken for granted. The deaths of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique that day – killed because they were women by a man who wanted to kill women – changed many of us, and many of our attitudes, in significant ways. It’s become something of a cliche to talk about important events as the ones that affected you so deeply that you forever remember where you were and what you doing and who you were with when you heard about it. But for so many women I know, December 6 was one of those moments.
Today is commemorated in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. If you like, you can read a little more about it here:
Wishing you all well,
Arat, Yeşim. “Contestation and Collaboration: Women’s Struggles for
Empowerment in Turkey.” In The Cambridge History of Turkey Volume 4: Turkey in the Modern World. Edited by Reşat Kasaba. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 388-418.
—————. “Feminist Insitutions and Democratic Aspirations: The Case of the
Purple Roof Women’s Shelter Foundation.” In Deconstructing Images of “The Turkish Woman.” Edited by Zehra F. Arat. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998, 295-309.
—————. “Feminists, Islamists, and Political Change in Turkey,” Political
Psychology 19(1) (March 1998): 117-131.
Gündüz, Zuhal Yeşilyurt. “The Women’s Movement in Turkey: From Tanzimat
towards European Union Membership,” Perceptions 9 (Autumn 2004): 115-134.
Ecevit, Yildiz. (2007). “Women’s Rights, Women’s Organizations, and the State”.
Human Rights in Turkey. 187-201. Ed. Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Levin, Yasemin Celik. (2007). “The Effect of CEDAW on Women’s Rights”. Human
Rights in Turkey. 202-213. Ed. Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Women for Women’s Human Rights (NGO) useful information
KA-DER (NGO) – useful information
Gersh, Rebecca. “Transnational Activism in Juarez: A Gender Perspective.” www.casa-
Tellez, Michelle. “Community of Struggle: Gender, Violence, and Resistance on the
U.S./Mexico Border.” Gender and Society. 24 Jul. 2008.
Macdonald, Laura. “Globalization and Social movements: Comparing the Women’s
Movements’ Responses to NAFTA in Mexico, The USA and Canada.”
International Feminist Journal of Politics. 2 Aug. 2002.
Mexico- Women’s Activism
Cleaver, Harry. 2000. “The Zapatista Effect: The Internet and the Rise of an Alternative Political Fabric.” . (Accessed October 30, 2008).
Dominguez, Eme R. 2002. “Continental Transnational Activism and Women Workers’ Networks Within NAFTA.” International Feminist Journal of Politics. 4.2 (August): 216-239.
Miller, Sara. 2008. “Former Nun Helps Mexico ‘Femicide’ Victims Recover.” . (Accessed October 30, 2008).
Sanders, Nichole. 2008. “Gender and Welfare Reform in Post-Revolutionary Mexico.” Gender and History. 20.1 (April): 170-175.
Smith, Erika. 1998. “Mexican Women’s Movement Makes the Internet Work for Many Women.” . (Accessed December 2, 2008).
Busia, Nana K. “The Status of Human Rights Organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.” University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. University of Minnesota. 2 Dec. 2008 <http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/africa/mali.htm>.
Miller-Grandvaux, Yolande, Michel Welmond, and Joy Wolf. “Evolving Partnerships: The Role of NGOs in Basic Education in Africa.” SARA Project, Academy for Educational Development (2002).
Naples, Nancy A., and Manisha Desai, eds. Women’s Activism and Globalization : Linking Local Struggles and Global Politics. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Input Paper 2
My research, particularly the authors, Eslen-Ziya (2007), Hoskyns (1996), and Kardam (2005), has led me to a preliminary idea to use in my final paper. I contend that women’s agency and activism has driven progress on women’s rights in Turkey and the EU, combined with the EU accession process, has been a useful tool for women to network with each other, debate, and pressure the Turkish government to reform.
The EU’s impact on women in Turkey has been indirect, of course, because Turkey is working within itself to meet the Copenhagen Criteria for its accession. Here are some says that the EU has helped Turkey’s women’s movements. EU accession has brought the issues of violence against women, women’s low labor market participation, and women’s access to education more so into the national agenda (Akkoc 2007, 110, Spilda 2007, 18) and has “created some significant space for attention to women’s human rights” (Kardam 2005, 165). There are 450 women’s NGOs in Turkey which have become “more vocal” and are “fight[ing] to be socially and politically influential” since the EU spurred Turkey to reform on women’s issues (Spilda 2007, 20). Kardam (2005, 5) says that the “Turkish women’s movement has [become]… quite influential in agenda setting, policy-making (including legal reforms) and implementation processes”. An example of these influences are
…the women’s human rights education programs implemented across the country [which] are not Turkish responses to external incentives but the result of women’s NGOs and government agencies working together. (Kardam 2005, 4)
The Turkish government also has created an advisory board that has consolatory functions for the government and it includes women NGO’s members (it’s an EU requirement that “women’s activist groups” can “dialogue in civil society”) (Eslen-Ziya 2007, 86). Eslen-Ziya (2007, 87) tells us that the EU is “a cooperating, networking union” than enhances “women’s organization’s thoughts[,] provides funding for lobbying”, and (the goal of EU membership) provides a useful “point of reference”(87) in the women’s group’s networking. Women’s groups use the criteria as tool when lobbying the government in order to pressure them into adopting reforms that are important for Turkish women (Eslen-Ziya 2007, 88 Kardam 2005, 171).
Women even played a major role in the inclusion and expansion of women rights in the EU. Hoskyns (1996, 25) tells us that without the “explosion of feminism” in the late 1960s and 1970s, important provisions for women like Article 119 in the Treaty of Rome (equal pay for equal work between men and women) would not have become consequential. Activists like Elaine Vogel-Polsky (a lawyer) went to the ECJ with a case about a flight attendant, Gabrielle Defrenne, who was fired in 1968 after turning forty (she was supposedly too old to appeal to the male passengers) (Hoskyns 1996, 70). Even though Vogel-Polsky lost in the court, the Defrenne case “lay the base for the extension of EC legislation on women’s rights in the 1970s”, which “[expanded] the scope of Article 119” (Hoskyns 1996, 74).
In recent years, women’s rights have improved in Turkey with the Turkish Penal Code, Civil Code, Labor Code, Family Law, and Municipality Law being more female-friendly (Bozkurt 2007, 24). These improvements were encouraged by the CEDAW (which Turkey ratified in 1985, with reservations) Committee reports which pointed out violations to women’s rights (Kardam 2005, 25-27). However, there are significant, persisting problems for women Turkey despite many advances such as the low labor participation and education access mentioned above. The government falls “short… of accepting the need for positive discrimination for women” (such as quotas for women on party slates and in legislative bodies) (Kardam 2005, 27).
Akkoc, Nebahat. (2007). “Imagining a New World”. Turkish Policy Quarterly. 6(5):
Bozkurt, Emine. (2007). “Women’s Human Rights”. Turkish Policy Quarterly. 6(5):
Eslen-Ziya, Hande. (2007). “The European Union’s Influence on Women’s Activists
Groups’ Networking: A Comparison Between Turkey and Greece”. Turkish Policy Quarterly. 6(5): 81-88.
Hoskyns, Catherine. (1996). Integrating Gender, Women, Law, and Politics in the
European Union. Verso, London & New York.
Kardam, Nuket. (2005). Turkey’s Engagement with Global Women’s Human Rights.
Spilda, Vladimir. (2007). “Empower Women In Turkey: A Priority in the Pre-accession
Process”. Turkish Policy Quarterly. 6(5): 17-22.
Input Paper 3
I’ve contended that the EU accession process is a useful tool for women’s advocates to pressure the Turkish government to reform on women’s issues. In my research I’ve attempted to use Harding and Norberg’s (2005, 2009) example to “go beyond the conventional standards for ‘good research’”, which bolster andocentric views and marginalization. When examining Turkey, I have observed a socio-economic system present that is problematic for women, but I also have been careful to not ignore problems with the EU itself. During the European Commission’s push for Article 119, the “personnel involved” were “almost entirely male endeavor” and “there seems to have been only one woman on the Social Committee of the European Parliament” (it does not seem surprising that progress on Article 119 took decades) (Hoskyns 1996, 61). Since the EU has its own representation problems with women, Turkish feminists must remain alert to the body’s decisions on Turkey in order to assure the EU’s commitment to the gender aspects of the Copenhagen Criteria. I will now conduct a brief discussion of peace in Turkey, which will illuminate some of the complex issues women’s groups encounter when dealing with the EU and the Turkish government.
The EU accession is part of Turkey’s “long history” of trying to “achieve closer integration with Europe” and “on balance Turkey’s pending EU accession is strongly welcomed among European leaders” (Yildiz 2005, 20, 26). These leaders see Turkey’s EU membership as a vital to “regional security concerns”, because the country could “potentially create a bridge between Europe and the wider Muslim world” and be a key U.S. ally on its fight against terrorism (Yildiz 2005, 26). The EU wishes to maintain peace and avoid war in the region. However, women still face discrimination in the labor force, education system, and domestic life, threatening their human security. The EU’s incentives for accepting Turkey align with Bunch’s (2003, 6) concept of “negative peace” or, simply, “the absence of war”. Bunch argues that nations’ focus on militaristic concepts of war, violence, and peace cause their governments not to…
…address questions of what is needed to end all forms of violence – militarization, the structural violence of racial and economic injustice, or the ongoing violence against women in daily life. (Bunch 2003, 6).
Therefore, even though the EU has requirements to assuage racial, economic, and gender-based disparities,feminists must be vigilant of Turkey’s behavior during the accession process. Yildiz (2005, 72, 81) tell us in his study of the Kurds (a marginalized ethnicity) in Turkey that recent reforms such as the much touted Penal Code have been “circumvented” (such as “less detectable torture methods”) and that NGOs/humanitarian organizations’ attempts to help Kurds displaced by violent confrontations with the Turkish military “have not been welcomed”. “Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds continues to defy the political elements of the Copenhagen Criteria”, which presumably alarms women’s rights groups which use the Criteria to lobby the government (Yildiz 2005, 133). In 2005 Turkish police harassed “women protestors demonstrating for women’s rights”, because they did not jump through “onerous” bureaucratic hoops needed to assemble, which makes one question Turkey’s commitment to the EU requirements (Yildiz 2005, 56). Considering the complexities of andocentric international relations between the EU and Turkish government, the women’s groups/NGOs in Turkey need to work hard on both fronts to make their voices heard.
Bunch, Charlotte. (2003). “Feminism, Peace, Human Rights and Human Security.” Canadian Woman Studies 22, 2: 6-11.
Harding, Sandra, and Kathryn Norberg. 2005. “New Feminist Approached to Social
Science Methodologies: An Introduction.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30, 4: 2009-2015.
Hoskyns, Catherine. (1996). Integrating Gender, Women, Law, and Politics in the
European Union. Verso, London & New York.
Yildiz, Kerim. (2005). The Kurds in Turkey, EU Accession and Human Rights. Pluto
Press, London & Ann Arbor.