DOI :10.26650/B/SS10.2024.013.005   IUP :10.26650/B/SS10.2024.013.005    Full Text (PDF)

Women Empowerment Through Compulsory Schooling Reform: the Case of Türki̇ye

Emine Kübra Usta Abdul Hakem Mahmoud OkourElif Satılmış Erbay

This study investigates the causal impacts of the 1997 compulsory schooling reform on women’s empowerment in Türkiye. The reform extended the compulsory education duration from 5 years to 8 years. The policy had an impact on individuals born in 1987 onwards, whereas those born in earlier years were unaffected. This allows us to employ a regression discontinuity design (RDD) and reveal the causal impact of the reform on women’s educational outcomes, their status in the family, and their perceptions and attitudes towards gender roles in relation to the Fifth Sustainable Development Goal. We examined the 2008, 2013, and 2018 waves of the Turkish Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS), which is a nationally representative micro dataset. Results show that this large-scale reform has led to significant improvements in women’s educational outcomes. The policy has led to increases in the years of education, and completion of grade 8 and grade 11 for women, as well as a decrease in educational disparities between spouses. However, when we check other empowerment-related outcomes within the family, results show that the extent of empowerment is quite limited. Only one outcome in each set of variables (perception of gender roles, perception of physical violence, financial independence) shows empowerment. This suggests that higher educational attainment and improved educational status compared to the husband are not reflected in daily lives and the perceptions of women. All in all, stronger educational outcomes for women resulting from the policy have minor empowering effects.


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