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"The right to reconcile work and family responsibilities" : international framework and a brief overview of the situation in Turkey

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2008
Erden, Deniz
This thesis analyzes the right to reconcile work and family responsibilities which is recognized as crucial in womens participation in the labor market. When women can not fully enjoy their right to work due to the burden of unequal gender division of labor, they become more vulnerable to poverty and male violence which impede them from developing their basic human capabilities. States should acknowledge that this is a human rights problem which is deriving from womens overburden as primary caregivers. In order to overcome this problem and transform the patriarchal structure of the market and the family; state intervention in the private sphere is required. Two alternative reconciliation models are examined. The first is the equality driven model that encompasses parental leave and childcare facilities, which necessitate positive intervention of the state and more likely to trigger structural change. The other is the flexibility or market driven model which is based on part-time work and homeworking strategies. They target womens participation in the labor market without necessarily leading to any change in the gender divisionof labor. The effectiveness of these strategies is analyzed within a feminist jurisprudence method. While the focus is on the international framework, including the EU Member States, the specific case of Turkey is also considered. Given Turkeys socio-economic particularities, childcare largely depends on kinship relations and social policies regulating womens labor market participation are market driven. The data shows that women in Turkey do not equally enjoy their economic and social rights. Therefore, by examining the international framework for right to reconcile work and family responsibilities, it is hoped that a case can be made to call on Turkey to abide by its international obligations to grant this right.