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Keywords:

  • Social policy reform;
  • Gender;
  • Citizenship;
  • Turkey

Abstract

This article discusses the current social policy reform process in Turkey from a gender perspective. Until now, social security and labour regulations have provided women with special benefits and protections. Depending on the particular case, these gender-specific policies can be interpreted differently – as positive discrimination, satisfying practical gender interests, or as a reinforcement of traditional gender norms and relations, stigmatizing women as a weaker, vulnerable group in need of special protection. Ongoing reform initiatives, however, neutralize most of these long-lasting gendered policies, either by terminating rights formerly enjoyed only by women or by extending these rights to men as well. The article questions this changing nature of social policy as to whether it promises equal citizenship for women or increases their vulnerability, in the absence of former benefits and without sufficient policy measures for improved capability.