Education, religious practice and gender ideology in Turkey

In this paper we explore how education and religious practice influence gender ideology in Turkey, using survey data for 2003, 2008 and 2013. The two concepts of “male authority” and “female autonomy” are used as proxies for gender ideology, taking advantage of a set of statements intended to capture gender role attitudes among ever-married women 15-49 years. They were constructed using factor analysis. We then analyzed how attitudes to male authority and female autonomy differ by educational level and religious practice. In the ten-year period from 2003 to 2013 there has been a rapid increase in education while religious practice has remained high. We found that post-secondary education has a strongly positive effect on non-traditional gender attitudes, although declining over time, while the positive effect of not wearing headscarf mostly has remained high. Thus, the propagation of patriarchal religious values, which can be observed in Turkey since the turn of the century, promoting gender inequality and the confinement of women to the domestic realm, seems to be counteracting the positive influence of increasing female education on egalitarian views of women in Turkey.