The Role of National Mechanisms in Promoting Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women: Turkey Experience

The Beijing Platform for Action (1995) continues to point out that the main task of national women's machineries (NWMs) is to support government wide mainstreaming of a gender equality perspective in all policy areas. (para. 201) They should perform policy analysis, undertake advocacy, communication, coordination and monitoring of implementation, data gathering. It should influence policy and formulate and review legislation. It should report to legislative bodies on the progress of efforts taking into account the implementation of the Platform for Action, encourage and promote the active involvement of the broad and diverse range of institutional actors in the public, private and voluntary sectors to work for equality between women and men and promote and establish cooperative relationships with relevant branches of government, centers for women’s studies, and research, academic and educational institutions, the private sector, the media, the NGOs, especially women’s NGOs and all other actors of civil society. It should further establish links with national, regional and international bodies dealing with the advancement of women, provide training and advisory assistance to government agencies to mainstream gender policy.

The constraints NWMs face have been identified by many observers and can be summed up as the inability to perform the above tasks because of:

  • Marginalization in national government structures

  • Insufficient support from national political leadership

  • Dependence on donor funding and the accompanying implication that gender

    equality issues are a ‘foreign import’

  • Subjection to changing political fortunes

  • Unclear and weak mandates

  • Lack of adequate staff, expertise and data

  • Lack of sufficient resources

  • Insufficient understanding of gender equality and mainstreaming among

    government structures

  • Lack of legitimacy and support from women’s organizations


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