KEİG Platform Press Release
WOMEN EMPLOYMENT PACKAGE WHICH EXCLUDES WOMEN IS NOT PROMISING FOR WOMEN!
The Employment Package, which was prepared without creating a democratic negotiation process through which a concrete draft would be discussed with women, must be re-written in accordance with the efforts and suggestions of women organizations!
Women organizations have been expressing the main obstacles to achieve gender equality in employment in Turkey for years. However, the preparation of the “Women Employment Package” which took almost one year without taking into consideration what the women organizations have been emphasizing for years will only aggravate the gender based inequalities through the employment policies suggested within the framework of the package. In order this package to achieve the objectives of increasing women employment and preventing gender based discrimination, the demands of independent and organized women should be heard!
As women organizations, we previously underlined that one of the most fundamental obstacles to gender equality in employment is the burden of domestic care. Women undertake the labor-intensive and vital works such as taking care of children, elderly, patient or handicapped at home, without any payment. Although it is such a critical social issue, neither the state brings out any equalitarian social policy, nor the employers are willing to fulfill their obligations, nor men in general take any responsibility of care taking.
The oppression of women which manifest itself as “give birth many children and take care of them all by yourself” is justified through the Employment Package!
We hear from various statements that the Employment Package brings some suggestions on “adapting work and family life”. In the case of the European Union and certain countries, the policies under the headline of “adapting work and family life”,which also set the international norms, include the roles of the employee in and outside the working life and certain time/space arrangements related to the labor load. There are a series of instruments among these policies that can be implemented on national or institutional level, such as maternity and parental leave, direct or indirect in-cash support, care taking possibilities outside the house, gliding work time employment in which determining work time and over time is difficult or impossible. Considering the reason for these arrangements to be brought out under the above-mentioned headline, we believe that they should be designed and implemented in a way that will not violate social rights of employees, in a way that will prevent status deprivation or marginalization of them as individuals or as a group in different spheres of life starting with working life. However, the existing regulations prolong maternity leave in a way that would contradict the principle of shared responsibility of care taking between the parents and complicate women employment; they do not bring ant effective suggestion on qualified and accessible care taking services; and even though it is said to be “limited to post-natal period” they open the way of part-time or secondary employment of women in time. Multiple births and single-handed care taking is naturalized for women; the way through which women shift to part time working and atypical positions that involve flexible time/workplace relations is paved. Women’s unequal position in the family and in labor market is reinforced!
This policy instigates the continuation of women’s unequal status in the family. It is expected from women to fulfill all obligations at home without payment and they are pushed to work part time, with low-status, without security and in underpaying jobs as cheap labor force. This contributes to sustaining double-exploitation system.
The Employment Package that ignores the demands of women’s movement reinforces the situation in which women in the labor market work with low-status and under-payment compared to men.
We do not accept the presentation of flexible work as a strategy to increase women employment!
• We, as women organizations, demand the utilization of the policies of adopting family life and work as the instruments that will help achieving primarily gender equality.
• We demand the preparation of the employment package to be grounded on increasing women employment in dignified jobs and we demand legal regulations and their implementations towards achieving gender equality in work life.
1. Full time and secured employment should be targeted in terms of women employment.
2. Registered employment which is based upon access to humanely working conditions, legal care taking leaves and right to return to work and social rights should be standardized.
3. Comprehensive public investments that will make pre-school education possible and accessible for every child as their right whether their mother and/or father works or not. It should be kept in mind that these investments will not only reinforce a healthy development for children, but also contribute to the objective of employment creation.
4. Care giving services for vulnerable groups like children or elderly should be provided socially. The supports that are given by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (ASBP) promote care taking along with the family and familial, that is women’s care taking; whereas, in compliance with the principle of social right, these groups should be provided with the professional, qualified and institutional care givingservices. Day care centers that are qualified and accessible for everyone is an essential part of the issue that is the balance between work and outside work. Taking the international standards into consideration, institutional care givingservices, through day care centers for 0-6 age group, preschool education institutions, and the institutions that offer care givingservice for the elderly/handicapped/sick, addicted and dependent, should be provided for everyone in a way that the care taking burden and cost is shared among the public and the employer.
5. Until 2023, the rates of participation in the preschool care and education services should be improved towards the targeted levels of 33 % for the ages of 0-3 and 100 % for the ages of 3-6, as in the objectives of the EU. To achieve this, ASPB and the Ministry of National Education (MEB) should start working on decreasing the age for preschool education within the framework of a medium-term plan. Required funds should be allocated and necessary preparations should be made to train the qualified personnel that will be employed in these schools.
6. The issue that brings the obligation of opening day care center in every workplace that employs 150 or more women, as it is stated in the regulations on employment conditions of the pregnant or breastfeeding women and on nursing rooms and child care dormitories, should be revised as 50 workers whether they are men or women. Imposing the obligation of opening day care center based only on women employees is the reflection of the sexist vision that considers child caring as solely women’s responsibility and it has a disincentive effect on employment of women.
7. As for the workplaces that employ less than 50 employees and millions of people who work informally,the importance of allocating required resources from the capital budget and opening preschool education centers for the children between the ages of 4-6 and day care centers for 0-3 age group in every neighborhood become more visible. For this to happen, municipalities should set concrete objectives in their annual plans and programs and spare necessary resources. Opening neighborhood day care centers by the municipalities is essential for providing a healthy development for children and achieving gender equality.
8. By force of being a social state, care giving services should be actively planned by the government as a public service. Care giving services for children/elderly/sick should be qualified, compatible with the working hours of the women/men who are responsible for care taking at home, in the native language of the people receiving care service and in standard quality.
9. Capital budget cutbacks in the expenses for the day care centers in public institutions cause the day care centers to be closed. Day care centers should be allocated resources from the capital budget and the suffering of employees should be eliminated. Closed day care centers should be re-opened!
10. For the development of children in primary education (6-15 age group), the conditions outside the school should be designed in line with working hours and extended.
11. Care giving institutions should be established and extended with the collaboration of municipalities and related ministries and accessibility to these institutions should be ensured. It should be kept in mind that the public investments toward extending these services has also the capacity to generate employment.
12. Considering child care responsibility solely through women and focusing on prolonging maternity leave will increase gender discrimination in terms of recruitment, promotion, and choice of sector/profession/job. Paid parental leave in addition to a reasonable period of maternity leave should be designed. Imposing men to use a reasonable minimum part of this leave as a non-transferable paid leave is essential for gender equality. Besides, the distinction of worker/public servant in post-natal care and breastfeeding leaves should be abolished.
13. Flexible work that will be designed towardsredressing the balance between work and outside work should be considered as an issue to be put on the agenda if it is needed only after women’s care taking burden is minimized through above-mentioned precautions.Therefore, the EU experience should be examined and its consequences should be evaluated critically.
14. Women and men who raise children single-handedly should not be ignored. By force of the principle of equality, enabling all women/men to access all kinds of care giving service and make use of them should be reinforced.
15. The workplaces should be audited in terms of the stringency on 45 hours of work, which is the legal weekly upper-limit; and this limit should be reduced to 35 hours in time, within the framework of humanely working conditions.
16. Turkey must sign ILO Convention No. 183 (Maternity Protection Convention) and establish the necessary monitoring mechanisms.