Shaping Gender Policy in Turkey

Grassroots Women Activists, the European Union, and the Turkish State

By Gül Aldıkaçtı Marshall

Subjects: Social Movements, Sociology, Women's Studies, International Relations, Middle East Politics
Series: SUNY Press Open Access
Paperback : 9781438447728, 187 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438447711, 187 pages, July 2013

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Table of contents

List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. Conceptualizing the Actors Roles
Theorizing Women’s Visibility within the Configuration of the Grassroots Activism, the State, and the EU
Analysis of Strategies Used by Women’s Groups, the EU, and the Turkish State
Overview of the Book
2. Gender Equality, Women’s Rights, and Stipulations within the Enlarging EU
Framing Gender Equality through Hard Laws
Expanding the Meaning of Gender Equality
Women’s Rights and Gendered Citizenship
3. Before the 1999 Helsinki Summit: The State’s Gender Regime in Turkey
Ottoman Reforms and the Gendered Subject
Kemalist Revolution and the Gendered Citizen
Women amid Political Loyalty and Political Mobilization
Gender (In)Equality in Laws in the Republic of Turkey
The Implications of Laws and Women’s Lived Experiences, 1923–1999
4. Active Citizenship: Women’s Collective Response to the State’s Gender Regime in Turkey, 1980–1999
The Rise of the Feminist Movement
Diversity in Women’s Activism: Islamist and Kemalist Women
5. Aftermath of the 1999 Helsinki Summit: The Role of the EU and the Turkish State in Changing Gender Policies in Turkey
Brief History of the Relationship between Turkey and the EU
Europeanization, Conditionality, and Gender Equality
Emerging Picture of Gender-Equality Reforms
6. Women’s Grassroots Activism in Changing Gender Policies after the Helsinki Summit
Taking Advantage of the EU Membership Process
Relations with the EU
Utilizing the UN Meetings for Policy Changes in Turkey
7. Conclusion: Sustained-Pressure in Shifting Winds
Appendix A: Interviews
Appendix B: Names of Women’s Organizations and Journals in Turkish and English

Timely analysis of the ways in which women grassroots activists, the European Union, and the Turkish state are involved in shaping gender policies in Turkey.


Shaping Gender Policy in Turkey uncovers how, why, and to what extent Turkish women, in addition to the Turkish state and the European Union, have been involved in gender policy changes in Turkey. Through analysis of the role of multiple actors at the subnational, national, and supranational levels, Gül Aldıkaçtı Marshall provides a detailed account of policy diffusion and feminist involvement in policymaking. Contextualizing the meaning of gender equality and multiple approaches to women's rights, she highlights a pivotal but neglected dimension of scholarship on Turkey's candidacy for European Union membership. This book represents one of the few works providing a multilevel analysis of gender policy in predominantly Muslim countries, and highlights Turkey's role at a time of swift structural changes to several political regimes in the Middle East.

This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to Knowledge Unlatched—an initiative that provides libraries and institutions with a centralized platform to support OA collections and from leading publishing houses and OA initiatives. Learn more at the Knowledge Unlatched website at:, and access the book online at the SUNY Open Access Repository at

Gül Aldıkaçtı Marshall is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Louisville.