Gender and Politics in Contemporary Turkey

Online Workshop co-organized by Yale University and EHESS (Paris)

Date: 16-17 May 2022

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Yeşim Arat (Boğaziçi University)

In the past decade, women in Turkey have seen multiple changes to their rights and their status in politics, society, and economic life. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in government for 19 years and its “gender regime” has become one of the most debated research topics in the country (among others by Kandiyoti 2016, Parmaksız 2016, Özkazanç 2019, Ünal 2021, Arat 2021)  It is imperative that scholars continue to study this gender regime, given recent economic, societal, and environmental crises. While the AKP’s gender regime is shaped and reshaped by the party’s illiberal and authoritarian turn, as well as its pro-Islamist stance, responses from feminist civil society organizations and other political parties are developed within the context of the AKP’s anti-feminist agenda, of which the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is just one of the recent examples.

Women’s political representation has been fluctuating in Turkey and has been subjected to shifts within the larger political context and AKP’s gender regime. The drop in female MPs between the two legislative elections in 2015, the “record-setting” legislature of 2018 in light of the fading importance of Turkey’s national assembly, as well as the Good Party’s reversal of its initial commitment not to create women’s branches while simultaneously being the least feminized party, are some of the developments which require in-depth scholarly investigation. These trends also show that while women’s descriptive representation needs assessment, the debate should also go beyond this point and examine women’s political experience in Turkey from all angles. Thus, promoting an interdisciplinary approach, this workshop aims to provide new insights into the multi-actor and multi-faceted features of Turkey’s gender regime and women’s political representation in the contemporary Turkish context. 

Within this framework, the workshop aims to convene submissions that focus on the following:

·    Women/gender/politics: Conceptual debates in the Turkish context

·    Methodological approaches: How to study gender regimes and women’s representation

·    Gender regime and system change in Turkey

·    Historical perspectives on women’s representation in Turkish politics and how it’s relevant today

·    Women’s involvement in Turkey’s contentious politics since 1960s onwards 

·    Women in Turkish political parties from the local perspective 

·    Women between politics and civil society: conservative and liberal

·    New political parties and avenues for women’s involvement 

·    Gendered challenges: gender-based violence, sexism, and other hidden issues

Call for papers:

Please send a 300-word abstract and a 150-word bio to: and by 1st March 2022, using the subject “Gender and Politics in Contemporary Turkey.” The abstract should feature original research and specify the methodology and data used in the contribution. Selected participants will be informed by the 20th of March. They will be asked to send the full draft by 25th April 2022.


Lucie Drechselová, Assistant Professor, CETOBaC, EHESS,

Nur Sinem Kourou, Ph.D. student, Fox International Fellow, Yale University,

Council of Middle East at Yale University