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Women’s Co-Operatives in Turkey: Success Stories

Women’s co-operatives were first established in Turkey in 1999. Since then, small cooperatives - most have less than 25 members - have been created by women for women to empower each other to set-up their own businesses. Today, they are making a real difference. This series of video-portraits highlights the positive impact they are having in their local communities. 

Among the main reasons women start cooperatives in Turkey are to provide jobs, be empowered socially, and find common solutions to challenges.

Pre-school education tops the list for dozens of women's cooperatives in Turkey. A lack of affordable child-care services and a lack of business-mentorship opportunities are two important factors influencing the low rate of job participation among women.

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The Current State of Women’s Co-Operatives in Turkey

Women in Turkey have traditionally lagged in official participation in the country’s economy. According to TurkStats, the labour participation rate among women is only 31.5%, while in the European Union it is 51.3%, on average. Nevertheless, female participation has increased to 50% in the country's urban areas - an increase fueled primarily by university-educated women. The World Bank is working with Turkey to help increase this number and improve women's roles in decision-making in family and economic life.