Published on Thursday, December 29, 2022 | Updated on Monday, January 9, 2023

Document number 22/13

Türkiye | Drivers of Low Female Labor Force Participation

Türkiye has the lowest female labor force participation rate amongst OECD members, where women constituted almost half of the male labor force participation. We compute a Conservatism Index to confirm that regions in Türkiye with higher conservatism have lower FLFPR mainly due to discouraging effect of unpaid care work.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Official figures indicate that low Türkiye’s labor force participation rates of women is mainly due to domestic and caregiving responsibilities of Turkish women, especially household chores and childcare.
  • Panel data estimation for 38 OECD countries presents that the significant negative impact of marriage on FLFPR might be due to increasing domestic burden of women in the household.
  • Extending our analysis for 26 regions in Türkiye, we find that affordability after marriage, schooling and housework are essential factors in addition to per capita income on Turkish women’s decision to work.
  • Due to tremendous amount of time spent by Turkish women on unpaid care work (305 minutes in a day) and discouraging effect of household chores on FLFPR, we compute a conservatism index to confirm that regions in Türkiye with higher conservatism have lower FLFPR, or vice versa.
  • Our results indicate that more conservative approach on women may increase their responsibility for unpaid care work, which is likely to account for the pattern of low FLFPR in Türkiye.

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