Unfolding the invisibility of women without men in the case of Turkey

ÖZAR Ş., Yakut-Cakar B.

WOMENS STUDIES INTERNATIONAL FORUM, vol.41, pp.24-34, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Esping-Andersen's "welfare regime" approach has been criticized on different accounts. Most prominently, Orloff emphasizes its ignorance of the relationship between gender-based inequalities and social policies. Her contribution in gendering the welfare regimes is extremely valid in understanding the case of Turkey. Only a very limited number of women who are formally employed are entitled to take part in the social security system as subjects (the actively insured) in Turkey. Thus, the majority of women are either totally excluded or included in the system by means of their husbands or fathers (a male member of their family), primarily as dependants of men reflecting the gender roles attributed to men and women within the society. In this setting, those women who are not under the protection of any form of social security scheme face increased vulnerability when divorced, deserted or widowed. We argue that women without men often go unnoticed by or frankly invisible from the domain of social policies in general since existing set of policies and their everyday practices are far from providing support to this group of women. Our main aim in this paper is to disclose the circumstances as to how women without men live in Turkey. We show the ways in which material conditions, and norms and values of the society make life difficult to cope with for this group of women. By doing so, we intend to demonstrate not only the discriminatory and gender biased nature of the welfare regime in Turkey, but also, and maybe more importantly, the gendered construction of norms and attitudes towards women without men in the society. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.