Activists stage protest against Erdoğan's all women's university project after it becomes official

A group of activists has protested against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's initiative for a first all women’s university after the plan officially entered the “2021 Presidential Annual Program.” The activists pointed out that the project will widen the already-existing discrimination against women in Turkey and will isolate them further from social life.

Activists hold a banner reading 'We do not want women university.'

Duvar English

A group of activists on Jan. 20 held a demonstration in Istanbul's Kadıköy district in protest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's initiative for a first all women’s university.

The demonstration came after the plan became official as it entered the “2021 Presidential Annual Program” -- prepared by the Treasury and Finance Ministry and the Strategy and Budget Presidency.

Turkey's top education watchdog, the Higher Education Council (YÖK), will work through the project next year. 

“The women's university is not a project that will save women from discrimination, as Erdoğan is saying; on the contrary, it will widen the discrimination. The women's university project has put forward the rulership's male-dominant mentality once again,” the activists said in their press statement.

“It is a project which will isolate women from social life and in this manner will seek to oversee and control women in an easier way,” they said.

Erdogan initially encountered the concept of women's universities during a visit to Japan for the G-20 summit in 2019. During a speech in Osaka, he said the 80 women's universities in Japan were "a very important thing," and that he could imagine introducing something similar in Turkey.

Although the idea has been greeted with outrage, especially among women's rights activists, Erdoğan moved on with the project.