Survey shows female journalists in Turkey subjected to discrimination, violence

Fifty-five female journalists in Turkey have said they have been subjected to discrimination and violence in the media sector and that they don’t receive equal pay for equal work, according to a to a survey conducted by the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the LGBTI Commission.

According to the survey, six out of every 10 female journalists in the country complain that they have been subjected to gender discrimination in their professional life. The 55 female journalists also said they don’t receive equal pay for equal work, while 87 percent of them said that having a baby has negatively affected their careers in journalism.

Gülfem Karataş and Zeynep Yüncüler from TGS Women and the LGBTI Commission read out a statement on Tuesday and highlighted the conditions of imprisoned female journalists in Turkey, saying, “It is unacceptable that any journalist be sent to prison over their professional activities.”

The survey showed that 63 percent of female journalists think they are taken less seriously compared to their male colleagues and that their work is less visible. Also, 63 percent of them have also said that “I have been subjected to discrimination in my business life because of my gender.” Moreover, 55 percent of participants believe that they have been paid less than their male colleagues who do the same or similar jobs.

Eighty-seven percent of participants said that having a child negatively affected their journalism career. Most of them say that they had to take a break from work or quit their job after having a child. However, the rate of those who think that marriage doesn’t or won’t negatively affect their career is 42 percent.

According to the survey, 53 percent of the female journalists have been subjected to violence by their administrations, 45 of them subjected to violence by their colleagues and 32 percent subjected to police violence.

The female journalists also complained that they could not effectively criticize the violence that had victimized them. Only 33 percent (52) of the 154 female journalists who responded to the relevant question said they had been successful in raising their voices after they were subjected to violence.

The survey was participated in by 221 female journalists, of whom 47 percent are working in print media, while the rest work at TV channels, online news sites, news agencies and as freelance reporters. The journalists were asked about sexual discrimination (economic, labor force, marriage, birth) and violence.

Just 28 percent of Turkish women of age 15 or over have a job, reported by pro-government Hürriyet daily citing a study entitled “Women in Statistics 2017” by the state-run statistics institute. The figure compares with 65 percent of men, producing an average for the country of persons gainfully employed of 46 percent.

The propensity of women to work rises as education levels increase. Only 15 percent of women who can neither read nor write have a job, while 71 percent of females who graduated from higher education are in work. About a third of female high school graduates are employed, it said.

Women’s employment surpasses men’s in the farming and the services industry, where 55 percent of women with a job work. Meanwhile, 16 percent of employed women work in manufacturing compared with 27 percent of men. Nineteen percent of all Turkish women with a job work part-time versus 6,5 percent of men, the study showed.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 240 journalists and media workers were in jail as of February 22, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison, 205 were under arrest pending trial, while only 35 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after a controversial coup attempt in July 2016.

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