The Power of Women's Representation in Local Government in Combating Women's Underrepresentation at Local Politics

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 2:45 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Ahu SUMBAS , Political Science and Public Administration, Hacettepe University, Turkey
Azer SUMBAS , Public Law, Hacettepe University, ankara, Turkey
The importance of local politics is on the rise particularly concerning the discussions of gender inequality in and relations with power, democracy, economy, society and social life. This is due to the fact that the central authority is no longer the locus of power in politics in combating global problems. Particularly women’s involvement in local politics had been invisible in the discussions of women’s underrepresentation for a long time both in academic literature and political life. In the last two decades, the academic interests about the relation of local politics and gender have been on rise and policy-makers who are aware of this fact have been paying serious efforts to bring local actors to the front to increase women’s political involvement. Since the 2000s, Turkish government has charged the various branches of politics, including the municipalities and mayors in the scope of this research, in enhancing women’s participation particularly in local politics. However, recent studies and statistics reveal that neither the number of women at local level politics have been increased either these responsibilities have been fully acknowledged by the local actors in Turkey.

It is assumed that, as women representatives, female mayors would contribute to increase women’s political participation in local politics and be more assertive to fulfill the related responsibilities to support women’s involvement into local political relations. Thus, in the case of 2009 local elections in Turkey, this study aims to find out to what extent female mayors can contribute in enhancing women’s political involvement at local level. In that regard, this research will try to analyze the related discourse and activities of female mayors who were selected in 2009 local elections in Turkey by in-depth interviews.