Daily Hürriyet has revealed the best Turkish cities for women to live in, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute, Istanbul, city with a population of 7 million women, comes out on top
Data collected by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) for 2011 provides an overview of the situation of women in terms of education, professions, marriage, suicide and many other factors. Daily Hürriyet analyzed this information and came up with a list of the most women-friendly cities in Turkey.
According to the data, the best city for women to live in is Istanbul. With a female population of 7 million, Istanbul tops the list thanks to its high participation of women in politics. However, with only 160 female members out of a total of 13,154 municipality members, it still comes second worst in this area to Diyarbakır.
Istanbul has a lower rate of early marriage, and the rate of women aged over 14 who have graduated from high school is relatively high. For example, out of 5.2 million women, a total of 1.1 million, or 21 percent, have graduated from high school, university or both. On the other hand, Istanbul scores negatively for its high rates of suicide. Out of a sample of 100,000 women, 1.4 will attempt to commit suicide in Istanbul.
The Black Sea province of Rize, the hometown of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also ranks among the top ten in the list.
According to Professor Aliye Aktaş of Selçuk University’s School of Health Sciences, Rize achieved a high ranking in the list due to the matriarchal family structure that predominates in the city.
Rize: a unique city
“One of the main factors that make Rize a unique city is women’s authority in the family. They also take part in employment more actively. [In Rize] the women pick tea plants and hazelnuts and get paid for it. These women can invest their money in whatever they want. This process is also supported by markets. Besides, they take [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] as an example. They think that if they work hard, their child could also become prime minister,” Aktaş said.
“As the welfare of a city increases, their contribution to GNP increases, too. Consequently, its positive reflections on women can be observed at every level. Actually, this is a matter of growth and development. As a city develops and grows economically, women naturally increase their presence in that city. Istanbul ranks in first place, thanks to its female employment rates and contribution to production. In Ankara, on the other hand, the presence of the Parliament, government offices and universities guarantee the individualization of women and their integration into society,” Aktaş added.
In the data, the city of Bilecik in the Marmara region ranks as the city where violence against women is most widespread. However, Aktaş does not find this surprising, and says it is down to higher levels of reporting. “I do not think that this is unexpected. Bilecik is in Marmara and there are many women in the professional world. They are well aware of everything, so that’s why they raise their voices and this sometimes leads to violence,” she said. Aktaş also said that the reason honor killings had not been eradicated was because women did not raise their voices, especially in regions where the practice occurs most often.