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Table of Contents

Gender Wage Gap in Turkey and Related Theories – Part 6


Chapter 2: Data on Female Labor Force in Turkey

2.1: Data on Female Labor Force in Turkey

In Turkey, the % of female labor force participation rate is falling since 1950. During 1950, the rate of female labor force participation was 70% and during March.2012 it was recorded at 27.9%. This change in statistic is attributed to two features: the migration of rural population to urban areas and secondly. The neo-liberal agricultural politics conducted during late 1990’s.

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For the neo-agricultural politics. Because of the ill-consequences of the agricultural politics, the major part of people of Turkey started facing financial problems and failure to earn livelihood due to bad conditions and as a result the labor force was obliged to seek their living in non-agricultural sectors. Relating this discussion to the official data that we collected during 1989, the ratio of people employed in Turkey’s agricultural sector to the total employed population was 47.7%. However, during march 2012 the ratio had declined to 23.6% only. The real decline in this number could not be emphasized completely on the neo-agricultural politics but majorly to the complete transformation made in the agrarian sector.

Thinking the other way around, the decline in the agrarian sector activity caused a gradual decrease in the significant part of female workforce. Thus, a gradual decrease of workers in agrarian sector brought about to an increase of labor force participation in other sectors. The table below shows as how the labor force participation rate. Employment and unemployment rate have changed in Turkey:

Year Labour Force Participation (%)  Employment (%) Unemployment (%)
Female Male Total Female Male Total Female Male Total
1989 36.2 80.6 58.1 32.7 74 53.1 9.5 8.2 8.6
1990 30 75.8 52.7 27.7 70 48.7 7.6 7.7 7.7
2004 23.3 70.3 46.3 20.8 62.7 41.3 11 10.8 10.8
2005 23.3 70.6 46.4 20.7 63.2 41.5 11.2 10.5 10.6
2006 23.6 69.9 46.3 21 62.9 41.5 11.1 9.9 10.2
2007 23.6 69.8 46.2 21 62.7 41.5 11 10.0 10.3
2008 24.5 70.1 46.9 21.6 62.6 41.7 11.6 10.7 11
2009 26 70.6 47.9 22.3 60.7 41.1 14.3 13.9 14

(Turkstat, 2009)

Table Analysis:

The above table indicates that the female labor force participation in Turkey was 36.2% during 1989, which during 1999 had declined to 30%, and by the end of 2009, it decreased to 26%. Although, during the same period, even the male labor force participation rate and the overall participation rate also declined. Thus, from 1989 to late 2009, the overall labor force participation rate declined by 17.6%, male labor force participation declined by 12.4%, female workforce participation declined around 28%, recording the highest. Similarly, the table indicates that during the last 20 years, female employment rate is also reducing at a much greater rate in comparison to the male workforce.

2.1.1: Areas of female employment in Turkey

While during the last two decades male and female, employment share has decreased in the agricultural sector, in industry and service sectors their shares have increased. As per the 2009 statistic of the country, 41.7 percent of females are employed in agriculture, 41.1 percent in service, 15 percent in industry and 0.8 percent in construction sectors.

Table 2.2:main employment areas of males and females,2009

s Agreculture Industry Service Construction
Year Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1989 34.2 76.6 18.7 8.8 39.7 14.4 7.4 0.2
1999 29.6 66.4 19.5 11.4 43.4 21.8 8.5 0.4
2008 17.1 42.1 23.1 15 52.1 42.1 7.7 0.8
2009 18.2 41.7 21.2 14.7 52.7 43 7.9 0.7

Sectoral Comparison:

(TurkStat, employment of the workforce 2009)

The statistical significance of sectoral composition can be realized from the fact the it is known to be the major determinant for manifesting the level of development of the countries. Whether an economy is advanced or not depends on the behavior of the sectoral comparison when the direction of the sectoral development realizes from the agricultural sector towards the industrial sector development and finally towards the service sector. However, as for the data obtained for weak industrialized Turkey, the direction of the sector development moves from agricultural sector to service sector and extremely low reliance on industrial sector. From the above graphical figure, we can see that despite the slowdown in the growth rate in agricultural sector, still, major population of Turkey is employed in this sector and fewer male works contributes to agricultural sector.

Further, as the graph below displays that if we calculate the sex ratio (male/female), each sector has a ratio less than one, although in agricultural sector it is close to one, but for the remaining sectors, i.e., industrial and service sector, the ratio is less than one.

With such a significant sex ratio difference in industrial and service sector in turkey, we can infer that this is the result of knowledge and skill requirement in service sector and industrial sector unlike in the agricultural sector. In other words, because of lack of knowledge required in the industrial and service sector, the female workforce faces obstacles and restraints in obtaining employment in this sector, while such situation is not prevalent in the agricultural sector.

Horizontal and vertical stratification of the jobs

In most of the societies, jobs were stratified in two groups, male jobs and female jobs. The general stratification in the society is related to ‘’women’s work is usual of temporary roles, low skilled labor, low status and low wages. While, on the other hand, male workforce is related with high wages, high skilled and highly responsible job profiles. The figure below distributes the profession in Turkey at present according to sex ratio.

The above figure also reminds us of the vertical stratification. Vertical Stratification is the term used to describe the allocation of men and women with the same human capital equipment in the same professions but in the different positions. Thus, although the involvement of female workforce in economic and social scenario has increased in today era, but their employment in high administrative and high skilled jobs is still on the discrimination stage. The graphs shown above indicate that the high administrative ranks are still reserved for male workforce, validating occupational discrimination in Turkey. ( Parlaktuna, 2010). But, on the other hand, we can also see the concentration of women in the professional areas of education, medicine, accounting and law fields. This occupational fluctuation between male and female workforce can be observed from the table given below:

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Table 2.3: Employment by occupation and Sexes

Occupations Men (percent) Women (percent)
2001 2005 2009 2001 2005 2009
Legislators, senior, officials and managers 10.2 12.8 10.8 8 3 3.2
Professionals 5.3 5.9 5.7 5.7 9.1 10.1
Technicians and associate professionals 4.7 5.5 6 4.9 7.2 7.4
Clerks 4 4.9 5.2 4.4 8.8 10.2
Service workers and shop and market sales workers 10.7 11.7 13.3 9 7.9 10.1
Skilled agricultural, and fishery workers 26.4 16.6 16 36.1 39.2 31.5
Craft and related trades workers 18.7 18.1 16.6 15.3 6.6 5.7
Plant and machine operators and assemblers 10.3 12.7 12.1 8 4.3 3.1
Elementary occupations 9.6 11.5 14.3 8.5 13.9 18.4

(Turk Stat, employment of the workforce)

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