Gender ideology among ever-married women in Turkey: the pervasive strength of patriarchy?

Ilknur Yüksel-Kaptanoglu, Hacettepe University
Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University

Despite the rapid and considerable changes in family structure in the 90 years since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, it has been argued that the Turkish family still in many ways retains its authoritarian patriarchal character. In this paper we aim to shed some light on the question whether Turkey of today can be characterized as a decidedly patriarchal society, by analyzing data on women's gender role attitudes from the 2008 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS). The majority of the attitude items included seem to capture some dimension of 'male supremacy' or 'male dominance'. There is a distinct rural-urban dimension in the response pattern. In addition, there is a strong educational gradient, meaning that highly educated women generally express less traditional gender role attitudes. Parental literacy is also important, as is practice of religion. Performing factor analysis on the nine items capturing women's gender role attitudes, two factors were retained which we labeled male authority and female autonomy. We then divided the women into two groups according to their acceptance or non-acceptance of male authority and supporting female autonomy respectively: traditional, and non-traditional. Finally we ran logistic regression separately for attitudes to male authority and female autonomy, with the traditional group as the reference category. Women’s level of education and their religious practice work in opposite direction on attitudes to male authority and female autonomy. More education makes women more likely to hold non-traditional views (although for female autonomy this is true only for women with post-secondary education), while religious practice is associated with more traditional views, both regarding male authority and female autonomy. While we cannot say anything about trends over time, it would seem that acceptance of male authority is still relatively strong in Turkey. However, it seems to co-exist with considerable belief in female autonomy.

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Presented in Poster Session 2