By Claire Zillman
September 11, 2017

Of the 35 wealthy nations that make up the OECD, Turkey is in last place when it comes to women in the labor force, with a participation rate of 36%.

There are myriad factors that have earned Turkey that abysmal ranking: a prevalence of poorly-paid jobs for women, female education levels that are behind international standards, and inadequate child care infrastructure.

But the biggest reason, according to the Financial Times, is the cultural expectation that women are caretakers above all else. That burden forces women out of the workforce once they become mothers and keeps them there as they raise their children. Among Turkish women with kids under age 14, fewer than a third are employed. In Sweden, by comparison, that share is 83%.

And it’s not that men don’t want women to work; most do. But at the same time, they aren’t willing to take on domestic responsibilities themselves.

In fact, of all OECD countries, Turkish women spend the most time per day on unpaid work, such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare. They put in 6.3 hours, compared to 1.9 hours among men. Aside from India, Turkey has the least-balanced workload in the OECD.

Julide Sarieroglu, Turkey’s new labor minister, says addressing the issue of women’s low labor participation is one of her top priorities, but her own government isn’t helping matters. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year referred to women who “refuse maternity” as “half” persons.

“She is lacking… no matter how successful she is in the business world,” he said.

Yet the problem is crippling his efforts to return the country to high economic growth rates.

“These women who are not working could be participating in economic life, generating resources, earning incomes,” Rauf Gonenc, head of the OECD’s Turkey desk, told the FT. “The unused potential is huge.”

—@clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Appetite for scandal
The Israeli attorney general on Friday announced that he will indict First Lady Sara Netanyahu on charges that she spent $102,000 in state funds on catering while she falsely stated that the household didn’t employ a chef. The allegations would normally be damning, but in recent years the Netayanhu family has become increasingly resilient to political scandal. 
Atlantic
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This close
A new book on the U.K. general election in June details just how close Prime Minister Theresa May came to quitting after the blockbuster result that saw her party lose its majority in Parliament. But a text message from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson—a likely challenger for her leadership role—was what convinced her to stay.
Daily Mail
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Angela answers
Angela Merkel finally addressed the anti-immigration protestors who have interrupted some of her campaign rallies and, at times, hurled fruit at her. “A lot of them, usually from the AfD and the NPD [political parties], come simply with the goal of making it hard for others to listen,” she said Saturday, in her strongest reaction to the demonstrators yet. “So I hope that the people who come to listen will also have their say, not just those who are rowdies and show up to whistle and shout.”
Bloomberg

THE AMERICAS

Survey says
Google employees took it upon themselves to compile a database of salaries at the tech giant and the results aren’t pretty. The survey of some 1,200 workers shows that women there are paid less than men at most job levels, with the pay disparity continuing as female staffers climb the corporate ladder. The survey, while not a complete picture of Google’s pay, is especially notable given the Labor Department’s current inquiry into the company’s pay practices and the now notorious James Damore memo that took issue with Google’s diversity push.
New York Times
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Preach!
On his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis addressed “verbal and physical violence” toward women, calling for “respect” and stating that the Bible celebrates strong and influential women. Too many communities, he said, “are still weighed down with patriarchal and chauvinistic customs.”
BBC
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Hunker down
Hurricane Irma is slamming Florida after making landfall yesterday morning. The storm posed an especially difficult—and potentially dangerous—challenge for pregnant women in the state. Four different Baptist Health South Florida facilities are sheltering some 200 pregnant women who are either at least 36 weeks along or have high-risk pregnancies. One woman told the Miami Herald that the expectant mothers were keeping each other company under the less-than-ideal circumstances. “Everybody is just kind of getting to know everybody here,” she said, “talking about pregnancy, how far along we are and everything.”
Miami Herald

ASIA-PACIFIC

Change of plans
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, who both serve as presidential advisors, were expected to visit China this month, but the trip has reportedly been tabled as relations cool between Washington and Beijing. The news will no doubt disappoint the couple’s legion of fans in China, who see the first daughter in particular as a model of professional ambition and grace. 
Guardian
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Game on
Thanks to money pouring in from video game enthusiasts, professional all-women e-gaming teams are popping up in China, with players earnings generous monthly salaries. They’re a rarity in the e-sports world, which still favors male gamers despite women’s prevalence among players and fans.
Quartz
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Texts in Tajikistan
The government of Tajikistan is texting citizens, reminding them to wear “traditional” Tajik clothes—code for not donning the hijab and other kinds of Muslim dress. It says the campaign is to combat Islamic extremism, but Muslims see it as an effort to regulate their faith.
Washington Post

IN BRIEF

Using a robotic hand, this 7-year-old girl wants to throw out the first pitch for all 30 Major League Baseball teams
NPR
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Real Simple
Grappling with equality: Is women’s wrestling headed to the NCAA?
Ozy
Mother of 9 goes door-to-door as part of Yemen’s anti-cholera brigade
NPR

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