ABSTRACT

The Turkish business community narrows the meaning of “diversity management” to “gender diversity” and limits their practices to those specified by legislation. Given this prevalent understanding of diversity, in this chapter we focus on and highlight the role of the political, economic, and cultural context in shaping the gender diversity practices of Turkish companies. We also demonstrate how these contextual features slow down any progress towards achieving women’s inclusion in the workplace. The chapter emphasises two tropes - patriarchal culture and the dominance of an authoritarian state - as major factors shaping the gender diversity field in Turkey. By adopting a historical lens, it explains how women’s inclusion in the public sphere for equal rights in education, politics, and the economic realm started as a state project during the early Republican days. The chapter also shows how, after the 1980 structural adjustment program, a conservative neoliberal understanding of patriarchy stressing the dominance of family was adopted by the government, and finally, after 2001, how the state cadres, by adopting a discourse and using various instruments of the neoliberal policies, displaced women from the workplace and repositioned them at home as caregivers. It also accentuates how the governing parties felt obliged to adhere to patriarchal norms in order to gain electoral support.