GENDER STUDIES SEMINAR
Declining Fertility Rates, Diverse Policy Responses: The Case of Turkey
(Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Department of Sociology, Koç University)
Friday, March 4, 2016
13:40 FASS 2034
Since the 1960s, European countries have experienced a significant decline in fertility rates. While it has not been as much a pressing issue for Turkey as it has been for European countries, several policy measures were also introduced in Turkey as a part of a legislative harmonization process for the country's candidacy for EU membership. However, the policy programme, now famous with the slogan of "minimum three children", was gradually developed by the ruling AKP party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi- Justice and Development Party) parallel to its broader political-economic and cultural agenda. Accordingly, it has introduced a set of policy measures, which include not only European-supported incentives for the "reconciliation of work and family life", but also formal and informal restrictions on abortion access, among others, signalling a regressive turn in terms of women's rights. The literature usually interprets European political interventions to influence fertility behaviour as a reconstructive response to the socially-destructive effects of an expanding market economy. This talk, however, argues that the fertility policy in Turkey can be seen as a policy aimed to support the expansion of a market economy and likely to produce socially-destructive effects especially in terms of gender. The talk presents a preliminary analysis of the development of the policy, taking into account processes of EU accession and the government's initiatives for agenda setting, against the background of international trends.