An Assessment of Women’s Rights in Corporate Compliance Programs in Turkey

01.14.2022 | Case Studies

PAR Research and Consultancy Inc. (hereinafter PAR) was given a mandate to develop a comprehensive report on women’s rights in corporate compliance programs in Turkey following an open call for proposals by Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The main purpose of the assignment is to provide an independent in-depth assessment of corporate compliance as it pertains to women’s rights in Turkey, outline existing programs and initiatives, assess their outcomes against planned outcomes including their contribution to gender equality at workplace.

The assignment defines scope of the work as providing an assessment of women’s rights in corporate compliance programs in Turkey based on a comprehensive desk research and interviews with relevant stakeholders. Accordingly, the PAR Team conducted a desk review of legal framework, existing studies and surveys, and initiatives and programs implemented by selected corporate companies and networks in Turkey to understand, analyze and assess the extent to which they protect women’s rights in the business environment. The report prepared includes an assessment of existing collaborations between organizations including business associations, networks, alliances in the civil society and leading multinational and national companies in the private sector.

Researchers also like to note that the work made a special effort to give an inclusive picture of the landscape of Turkey in this matter, therefore it studied and interviewed civil society and business environment representatives from diverse backgrounds and locations as much as possible.

Consequently, as outlined in the ToR, the assignment is designed to:

  1. Assess the extent of corporate compliance programs in Turkey; whether they contain measures to ensure women’s protection
    at work places and other women-specific issues such as gender equality in recruitment and promotion, equal pay, equal benefits, equal opportunities, maternity leave, sexism, harassment, and other relevant issues
  2. Outline major existing initiatives, policies, contracts, compliance programs in the private sector
  3. Assess the extent to which existing initiatives, programs, et al are implemented
  4. Examine existing regulations and legislation in Turkey, and extent of their implementation
  5. Develop recommendations for CIPE to address gaps in Turkey in corporate compliance on women’s protection at workplace

To address the purpose and scope of the assignment as outlined in ToR, this report sought to provide substantial answers to the following questions below:

  1. How does compliance play out in action? Due to which factors its action is limited?
  2. How are the sustainability, diversity and inclusion, social responsibility policies of companies in the private sector shape the compliance codes and women’s rights in Turkey’s private sector?
  3. What are the different institutional forms of compliance codes and women’s rights principles in the field? How do the national laws, institutional policies set in multinational companies headquarters that are imposed on their national branches in Turkey, institutional policies set by national companies, benchmarks set by international organizations assemble unique corporate compliance codes for companies?
  4. What are the civil society organization activities aim to play facilitating roles for the establishment and implementation of the respective compliance codes and benchmarks in business networks?
  5. What are the concrete actions taken by the companies in Turkey’s private sector that correspond to the gender-specific corporate compliance codes and women’s rights principles defined by various institutional bodies, i.e. government, global HQs of multinationals, benchmarks set by international organizations, civil society initiated collaborations?
  6. Via which further actions the compliance in action could be improved concerning women’s rights in Turkey’s private sector?
  7. What are the persistent issues that impede the improvements of women’s rights in the workplace in Turkey? Social pressure and barriers, cultural leanings, political/power dynamics, educational lack (women being informed about their legal rights and how to pursue them)
  8. Which diversity and inclusion policies and programs of which companies correspond to which compliance codes and women’s rights principles, i.e. codes and principles defined by the government, global HQs of multinationals, benchmarks set by international organizations, civil society initiated collaborations?
  9. Via which institutional bodies are these policies and programs are defined, put into action, monitored, documented, assessed and improved?

Final assessment includes recommendations to support future programming of CIPE on women’s protection in corporate compliance programs in Turkey, an executive summary and annexes. Full list of documents reviewed and a list of stakeholders’ interviews are submitted as attachments to the final assessment report.