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Only 385 out of 2,504 mayoral candidates in Turkey’s local elections are women

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There are only 385 female candidates out of 2,504 who will run in the local elections to be held in Turkey on March 31, according to a report from an academic who works on gender equality issues at the İstanbul-based Altınbaş University, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Friday.

Sociologist Zeynep Banu Dalaman, who heads a center on gender equality and women’s issues at Altınbaş University, examined the number of female mayoral candidates in the upcoming local elections.

According to Dalaman’s findings, only 2.1 percent of the mayoral candidates of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are women. For the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), only two out of 51 provincial mayoral candidates and 39 of 785 district mayoral candidates are women.

The number of female mayoral candidates fielded by the opposition İYİ Party, which is led by a woman, Meral Akşener, is also low. Out of the 122 mayoral candidates nominated by the party, four of them are women. The party has no female mayoral candidate in the provinces.

Regarding the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Dalaman said the existence of the co-mayor system in the party made it possible for it to nominate female candidates from places where they are likely to be elected. However, since the party did not nominate candidates in all electoral areas, this led to a decline in the number of its female candidates, according to the academic.

Turkey is one among the countries that have a poor record on gender equality. Only 17 percent of Turkish parliament members are female, which corresponds to 103 out of 600 deputies.

In 2018, Turkey ranked 130th in the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index out of 149 countries.

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