What will change with female leaders?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.32739/uha.id.44892

Following the March 31 elections, women candidates were elected in 11 provinces and 61 districts. Experts see the table as an important development in the context of gender equality in Türkiye. According to experts, women mayors are expected to carry out activities in areas that can be pushed into the background to make their differences.

Stating that female presidents can make social activities for women a priority, political scientist Asst. Prof. Selin Karana says that “At a time when violence against women is on the rise, she can prioritize increasing the number of women's shelters.”

Üsküdar University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Asst. Prof. Selin Karana evaluated the election of women mayors in 11 provinces in the March 31 local elections.

Until the elections in 2028, a process without elections has been entered...

Reminding that Türkiye has entered a process without elections until the general elections in 2028 with the March 31 local elections, Asst. Prof. Selin Karana stated that "In this context, we see that local elections are also important in terms of symbolizing the beginning of this election-free period. Another factor that added importance to the March 31 local elections was the increase in the visibility of women candidates in the elections, as well as the election of women as mayors in 11 provinces."

11 provinces and 61 districts are entrusted to women presidents...

Stating that the rate of women in local governments has reached 50 percent in only three countries worldwide according to the data of the United Nations Women; however, the rate of women in 22 countries is more than 40 percent, Dr. Karana expressed that "When an international evaluation is made, Türkiye is in a low place with a rate of 20 percent in terms of women's representation, as well as the limitation of women managers in local governments. Nevertheless, the fact that women candidates were elected in 11 provinces and 61 districts as a result of the March 31 elections can be seen as an important development when evaluated in the context of gender equality in Türkiye."

Why do women presidents need to do more?

Noting that the patriarchal structure of Turkish society not only causes women to face obstacles in political representation but also brings about the formation of some gender-based prejudices and concerns on women who rise to certain positions. Prof. Selin Karana continued her remarks as follows:

"Female mayors are likely to be tested more in terms of proving their competence than male mayors, and their potential failures are likely to be explained by associating them with certain gender stereotypes. In this direction, it is possible for women presidents to strive harder to prove their age, increase their visibility, and adopt a more consociational management style by acting multi-faceted to make their success permanent."

How can women mayors make their differences?

Stating that female mayors can be expected to carry out activities in the fields of family and childcare, which can be pushed to the background by male mayors to reveal their differences, but which affect a large part of women's social lives. Asst. Prof. Selin Karana stated the following remarks:

"In this context, it can be seen as a priority for women mayors to increase activities and playgrounds for children's development. It is also highly likely that female mayors will make social activities for women another priority area. For example, there may be an expansion of free public transport for mothers in provinces governed by women mayors. At a time when violence against women is on the rise in Turkish society, women presidents can prioritize increasing the number of women's shelters."

"Women mayors are expected to work with high environmental awareness"

Pointing out that it can be considered among the duties of women mayors to take development initiatives in the fields of education and profession for women to be liberated and develop while taking protective initiatives for women, Asst. Prof. Karana stated that "At the same time, it may be possible for women mayors to try to expand the rate of green areas with high environmental awareness. In addition to these, it can be hoped that they will emphasize social policies targeting disadvantaged groups with their sensitivity towards the disabled and the elderly. At this point, women mayors are more likely to exhibit an understanding of social municipalism."

The example of Gaziantep and Üsküdar in women's municipality...

Stating that Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin can be shown as an example of revealing the differences of women mayors in local government, Asst. Prof. Selin Karana expressed that "Şahin, who was entitled to serve as mayor for another term with 38.83 percent of the votes she received in the March 31 elections, brought the gastronomic feature of Gaziantep to the fore and attracted attention by making promotional and event initiatives in this field. Sinem Dedetaş, who was elected as the Mayor of Üsküdar in the March 31 local elections, can be expected to exhibit her vision in a way that will change the face of Üsküdar by repeating her achievements in the Haliç Shipyard and City Lines in her new position before taking this position. Based on these examples, I think that the women mayors elected in the other 9 provinces will make significant contributions to their provinces during their presidency by distinguishing themselves from their predecessors with their holistic and detail-oriented approaches, while revealing the previously undiscovered beauties of their cities."


Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)