Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Professor Roderic Camp

Rights Information

© 2018 Alexandra M Walker


This thesis explores the intersection of politics, religious ideology, and gender norms in the context of the Turkish labor market. I aim to shed light on the increasing interplay of these forces under AKP governance and, by extension, provide a rationale for Turkish women’s consistently low labor force participation. Further, I intend to expose that, despite introducing several legal reforms geared towards promoting gender equality, the party continues to frame the traditional family unit as the main pillar of social stability, thereby forcing women into a domestic box from which they have not been able to escape. I hypothesize that several of the AKP’s reforms, which involve various domains of Turkish society—the social security system, the institution of marriage, the family unit (specifically public childcare), and, more indirectly, the education system—have deterred Turkish women from entering and/or remaining in the labor force, as they are predicated on the party’s idealization of domesticity. Ultimately, I grapple with the ways in which the AKP’s policies and ideology have led to Turkish women’s low labor force participation rate—reported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to be 32.37 percent in March 2017.[1]

[1] “Labor Force Participation Rate, Female (% of Female Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate): Turkey,” The World Bank, November 2017,

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.