‘Turkey has seen sharp rise in women’s employment'

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Turkey boasts the highest increase in women's employment among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries in Europe, the country's minister for labor, social services and family said Wednesday.

Zehra Zumrut Selcuk said that not only is the country setting the bar for women's employment, but it is also working towards combating violence against women in accordance with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Selcuk spoke at the United Nations, which is hosting the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women this week.

"We all know that achieving sustainable development goals is not possible without women," Selcuk said.

The main theme of Selcuk's visit to the UN has been to talk about the country's strategy to empower and embolden women in Turkish society, which covers a five-year span that began in 2018.

According to Selcuk, the labor force participation rate in Turkey among women rose from 25 percent to 29 percent over the last 16 years. She said Turkey aims to increase that rate to 41 percent. Over the last 11 years, female employment increased by approximately 3.5 million women.

Since 2006, there has also been a seven percent increase in the employment rate of women in Turkey aged 15-24, according to data from the World Bank.

The number of women in decision-making roles in Turkey has increased as well, with women now making up 17.5 percent of the Turkish parliament while over 50 percent of the staff employed in universities are women.

The resources allocated to refugees from Syria in Turkey was also addressed, with Turkey hosting roughly 3.5 million refugees from the neighboring country, the majority of whom are women and children.

Social security reforms have also allowed 99 percent of Turkish citizens and resident foreigners access to medical services, according to the minister.

Selcuk emphasized that the country has a "people-oriented approach" when it comes to empowering women and helping them achieve equality within society.

"Women constitute half of the world's population, and we all know that a bright future will not exist without us," she added.

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