Official: Change would aid Turkish women

Nov. 20, 2009 at 3:57 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A Turkish official said Friday a shift in society's mentality is needed to allow women in the country to advance in business and political fields.

Selma Aliye Kavaf, the state minister responsible for women's affairs, said changes in Turkey's laws and legislation would not allow women to make significant headway in either arena without an accompanying change in societal attitudes, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"The mentality change regarding women's participation in business or political life would take time. Legislation or laws are not enough for women to become active in business life," Kavaf said regarding the situation in Turkey, a secular democracy where Islam is the predominant religion.

The minister made the comments at the monthly meeting of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey, Hurriyet reported.

Leyla Alaton, an Alarko Holding executive board member, said when women are given a change to advance their careers, they gain a stronger sense of self.

"When she becomes the breadwinner, she really becomes the boss. That's the moment she starts to think about her rights to survive as an individual," Alaton said.

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