On February 22, Emine Erdogan, the wife of Turkey’s prime minister, was an honorary guest at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Whereas Turkey once had a female prime minister and women have occupied key posts in the past, Turkey today ranks near the bottom of countries for female representation. As the Turkish daily Hurriyet notes, Erdogan has appointed only two women to his cabinet of 26 ministers, and both to minor portfolios. There are no women among the 25 AKP-appointed undersecretaries, and only 3.5 percent of deputy undersecretaries are women. Of the ministries’ 254 regional directors, there is only one woman.
If the United Nations were serious about women’s rights, Erdogan is exactly the wrong guest. But then again, what can one expect from an organization that has allowed Libya to remain on the UN Human Rights Council even as the scale of its massacres become apparent.