This article was first published as a blog post on May 14th, 2014 at http://www.dsausa.org/challenging_conservative_neoliberalism_in_turkey_the_socialist_feminist_collective#_edn15.
The politics of gender in Turkey have undergone significant changes under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. Since it came to power in 2002, the AKP carried the decades-long neoliberal socio-economic restructuring to its final stage while imposing a conservative and increasingly Islamist worldview upon social, cultural and political spheres of life. At the heart of this conservative neoliberalism lies the reorganization of gender relations towards a more profound exploitation of women’s paid and unpaid labor. On the one hand, women’s increasing employment in flexible, insecure, low-paid jobs is celebrated as “women’s inclusion in the labor market.” On the other hand, conservative discourses that sanctify motherhood and pro-family policies make sure that women remain the main if not the only providers of housework and care work. This dual process reinforces women’s double burden, as a gendered division of labor persists at home while a gender-segregated labor market becomes the economic norm.