Political Climate and the Headscarf Issue in Turkey: A Perspective from the Labor Market

KARAHAN H., Tuğsuz N.

Insight Turkey, vol.24, no.1, pp.211-227, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.25253/99.2022241.12
  • Journal Name: Insight Turkey
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, vLex, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.211-227
  • Keywords: Headscarf, Women, Labor Market, Political Climate, Discrimination, Turkey
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


This article focuses on the relationship between the socioeconomic rights of headscarved women and the political attitude of governments towards the headscarf in Turkey. Taking the 2013 removal of bans against the headscarf in the public sphere as the reference point, we attempt to provide a before-and-after comparison of the status of headscarved professionals in the Turkish labor market, based on factors in the political climate. While fo-cusing mainly on the changing outlook in the public sector, we also examine the consequences of this liberalizing move on the private sector and explore the likely futures of the headscarf issue from a labor market perspective. Findings from the qualitative research reveal the strong influence political attitude has on the headscarf issue, as evident in the employment of head-scarved women in white-collar occupations. We discovered that the political climate is still expected to be the key dynamic in Turkey that shapes the future for professionals wearing the headscarf, primarily through the chan-nel of the state job market. This study contributes to the vast literature on women’s social and economic rights by addressing a decades-long, divisive issue that concerns a substantial segment of Turkish society.