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Gender Climate in Authoritarian Politics: A Comparative Study of Russia and Turkey

  • Gokten Doğangün (a1)
Abstract

In Russia and Turkey, the pro-authoritarian regimes have largely relied on nationalistic narratives appealing to cultural authenticity, tradition, and religion for legitimacy and cultural resonance at the mass level. Within this narrative, as it is argued, traditional notions of family and femininity are endorsed so as to represent national power against the West and to invigorate social unity and morality in Russian and Turkish societies. The revival of traditional gender norms and patterns that characterize the prevailing gender climates in Russia and Turkey is visible in the restructuring of gender equality mechanisms, the organization of reproduction in accordance with pronatalist policies, women's employment patterns, and state policy on combating domestic violence. This analysis relies on empirical data obtained through in-depth interviews with academics, representatives of international organizations and nongovernmental organizations, feminist activists, experts from women's shelters, and public officials based in Russia and Turkey. It is supplemented with a review of relevant examples from political discourse employed by political leaders, legal regulations, and public policies on these four areas. The article concludes that the revival of traditional gender categories and stereotypes aggravates the inferior position of women and unleashes discriminatory attitudes toward them at home, in society, and in the labor market.

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I owe my special thanks to Ayşe Ayata and Zelal Özdemir for their valuable comments on the earlier drafts of the article.

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Politics & Gender
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