Features of working group.
This study aimed to determine the importance of women, who are living in the city, in terms of her role and their place in educational administration. For this purpose, 21 women participated in the study voluntarily. Through semi-structured interviews, data were collected and content analysis is used to analyze the results. In this context, needs of women living in the city and their existing situation, advantages, disadvantages, and expectations are determined and evaluated from psychological, sociological, and educational administration perspectives. As a result of the study, knowing and exploring the existing situations of women in urban life who raise the society and ensuring that individuals benefit more from opportunities and rights of life through education as well as giving support for this effect are seen more important. In addition, satisfying the psychological needs of women in the context of urban life makes the individual more happy, autonomous, and motivated. Also educator role is perceived by participants of the study. As a proposal presented at the end of the study, formal and informal education system within Ministry of Education has to be reorganized starting from preschool to all educational institutions teaching them gender equality.
- role of women
- advantages of town
- disadvantages of town
In historical development, the process from their emergence to the present societies went through structural changes at micro or macro level in different times.
With these changes, societies changed characteristically while social institutions faced with change, too. The institution of family, which is the most important unit among social institutions, also faced with change but it continued its existence to today. It can be said that family institution is accepted as an important institution in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as well as in other societies as it determines and transfers from one generation to the other traditions, customs, language, religion, and clothing; it also allows for the growth of peaceful, happy, and healthy generations. In order to emphasize the importance of family institution, 35th article of the constitution of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus reads “family is the foundation of society” (TRNC Constitution). One of the basic reasons for which family institution has been given a special place and is protected by the constitution in all societies in general and in Cypriot Turkish community in particular is that it bears considerable importance in terms of growing cultivated generations, proper management of the society and the government, and establishing sustainable systems.
As mentioned above, family has basic roles and responsibilities; however, family institution shows difference according to the locality.
With family types which represent different occupational groups which emerged with urban life which is a yield of social life which changed with industrial revolution, fundamental changes in living conditions reveal themselves manifestly. In other words, “studies on the change caused by urbanization on the structure and values of family show that in societies where individualism is prominent a new family type based on the wills and needs of the individual in the family has been emerging” . The city, environment, and conditions under which individuals live affect their life styles. For this reason, cities are trying to meet their different needs of urban people and provide service to them. Sense of belonging, socialization, continuing of life, and happiness are among the needs which human beings have to meet during their entire lives. Cities emerge as places where all these needs can be met.
The concept of “city” has been defined in different forms according to the development of societies. Urban Science Terms Glossary defines “city” as “the settlement which is in constant social development and where settlement, shelter, commuting, working, resting, entertainment needs of the society are met, very few people deal with agriculture, which has more density in terms of population compared to villages, which consists of small neighbourhood units” .
Local governments/city governments assume important tasks in the meeting of needs of town dwellers. In other words, local governments are defined as democratic and autonomous institutions outside central management where decision bodies are directly elected by people with the purpose of meeting common needs of a local community . Democratic local governments bear considerable importance in terms of representation without any discrimination based on social gender. However, “from the past to the present, women and men are related to different responsibilities and tasks in urban area and usually women use the town in a more limited way compared to men” . The basic reason for the foregoing is that each society attaches different meanings and responsibilities to social genders in cultural context. In other words, expectations of societies form women and men can be closely correlated to the social, economic, cultural, and political lives. Especially with industrial revolution, women gained huge importance in every step of societies, and they still have critical positions in academic works, as well as the place of women in the society, management, and economy. The fact that women take part in production processes in the society makes contribution to the growth of more healthy and functional individuals and paves the way for the creation of developed and productive societies. On the other hand, in countries where democracy is a form of governance, if individuals are not educated to be able to adapt to democracy, and if formal and informal education cannot be brought to the masses, it causes the form of government to return to autocracy .
City is the most important source of a country, because it enables them to reach the targeted social, technological and economic level. However, the fact that this source can provide the desired benefits depends on the education of the human being. There are new changes in education as it is in other areas of education which is one of the most important means of development. Many factors require constant inquiry and renewal of the education system: the development of science and technology; the development of new approaches such as increasing communication, reorganizing educational environments, raising the qualifications of teachers, “learning life,” “effective learning,” “learning to learn.” In this context, the ability of the education system to work in accordance with these aims depends on the preparation and implementation of the educational administrators’ strategic plans . In this context, school administrators should be educated in accordance with twenty-first century schools .
The concept “local” is an administrative unit within the borders of any nation state and in relation to the expectations from all elements inside this unit to assume responsibility within set targets, and as concrete and experienced contrary to the abstract concept of “global.” Accepted as the foundations of democracy, local governments are the service units closest to local people, families, therefore women and their problems. Thus, we can claim that they play an essential role in terms of the peace of the local people and meeting their needs .
It is believed that as women have an important place in local government, they have to be in cooperation with local government. Therefore, it is believed that local people have a role to play in creating a more wealthy and functional society and growth of future generations.
Almost half of the world’s population consists of women. Therefore, one side of the social and economic life in historical process consists of men and the other side is created by women. However, participation of women in social life, especially in terms of economy, has not been at the same level as men. Although at different levels in each society, it is a reality that women occupy an inferior place. Women, whose status went through radical changes in terms of social and political rights, continued to occupy an inferior place despite comprehensive changes, and their responsibilities were confined to the house and familial works. In the patriarchal family structure, woman has always been under the supervision of men; first, they were between father and brothers, and then they are between husband and sons . An overview of the historical development of women rights in Turkey shows that discussions on political and social rights of women continue today. In recent years, intense struggle has been fought on women rights and academic works are conducted on political and social rights of Turkish women. After the Turkish civil code went into effect, equality between women and men came to the fore and several reforms were made .
An overview of the history of human rights of Cypriot Turkish women, it can be seen that education of women has not been given much importance as it was seen unnecessary and costly. In 1950s, Cypriot Turkish women began to receive education mostly in Turkey. Cypriot Turkish women gained voting rights in 1960 after the Republic of Cyprus was established. After the clashes in the island, the island began to be divided in 1974 and women were needed in employment in order to meet the increased workforce need . In 1990 elections, women were elected as members of parliament for the first time.
A general evaluation will reveal that in our century, the problems of women are almost globally shared. Likewise, solution ways to these problems of women are also universal. Although women have different characters and cultures, they are able to understand their needs better compared to men, as the ways of thinking and acting between men and women are different. For this reason, the areas of interest and skill of men and women are also divergent. Men usually focus on the monetary and security issues whereas house-keeping, child care and even contribution to household economy are the responsibility of women. In this line, although we have to see the image of women more in local government, it is evident that exact opposite prevails today.
Researches show that, in terms of the roles of women and men in the family from social gender and stereotype aspects, the most important role of men is to support their family, and the most important role of women is to raise their children and ensure continuity of the family . Although the number of gender-based occupational categories is on decline, it is known that they are still highly evident . In this context, the reason for low participation in local governments for women is that the country has a patriarchal structure as a result of which the roles and responsibilities allocated for women are mostly related to motherhood and housekeeping. In other words, the reason for low level of female participation at local government and employment market is the existence of inequality and discrimination in employment and inadequate measures .
Women living in town are more disadvantaged compared to men in decision-making and power-sharing in urban life. Global changes led to development in such fields as education, health, transportation, and technology changed the roles, relations, and participation in decision-making in the society. With these changes, when democratic countries are considered, social gender equality has been accepted as a fundamental principle. The United Nations also accepted social gender equality as a fundamental human right and emphasized the importance of universal participation of women and men in social life on an equal basis. However, inequality between men and women is still a fundamental hindrance in non-democratic countries , and it is evident that women can utilize less political, social, economic, and urban rights compared to men. In order to realize urban participation, the relation of individuals between each other and their urban environment must be increased and individuals must be integrated with the town where they are living . In order to ensure that people continue their development in social life and integrate with the wider society, the psychological needs of members of society have to be revealed and met .
According to self-determination rule, competence, autonomy, and relatedness are the three fundamental needs of human beings. The environment of the individual determined the extent to which these needs are met. The individual must be able to take his/her decision accurately with his/her own will in the society in which he/she is living, must consider his/her behaviors sufficient, and in the meantime be in relation with the social environment he/she is in. The degree to which psychological needs are met determines the well-being of the individual . For this reason, psychological needs of women in urban life can be met only if they are integrated in the city; in other words, they establish relations with the social life in which they are living and feel a sense of belonging. Thus, the happiness and living quality of individuals will increase and their well-being will also tend to improve. Some researches show that there is a psychological element which attracts individuals to a certain place and make them develop a sense of belonging. Environments or habitats where people enjoy and want to be present allow for the development of sense of belonging . For this reason, in order to make sure that women living in town integrate with the town, it is believed that meeting the needs of women living in town is essential.
2. Importance of the study
One of the most fundamental needs of individuals today is the need for being healthy individuals in the system and to continue our lives in a healthy city. The individual wants to integrate self to the city where he/she is living and lead a happy life there. In this context, this research is important for revealing the needs of women and offering suggestions so that the needs of women living in town can be met in the best manner and they can integrate themselves with the town.
In the light of the opinions discussed above, it is believed that the results that this study will display will make considerable contribution to the women living in the city, institutions in the city, and researchers alike.
As a result of the literature search, some studies were detected on women in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), but no studies on the women living in city were identified. The fact that such a study had not been conducted before was one of the most important factors for choosing this research topic.
3. Purpose of the research
The purpose of the research is to determine the importance of women living in the city in terms of her role in city life and their place in educational administration. In this context, needs of women living in the city and their existing situation will be determined and evaluated from psychological, sociological, and educational perspectives, and the importance of women in terms of her role in life will be revealed.
The subproblems listed below will be used in order to reach the purpose stated above:
What are the advantages of being a woman in city?
What are the disadvantages of being a woman in city?
What are the requests and expectations of woman from local government in the city?
What is the self-perceived role of woman living in the city?
4. Method of the study
In the study, a sample case study pattern, which is a qualitative research method, was employed in order to determine the role, advantages, disadvantages, expectations, and place in educational administration of woman living in the city. Sample case study makes sure that factors like environment, individual, process, and case related to the situation are studied with a holistic approach. The focus of this study is to reveal how these factors related to the situation are affected from the situation or how they affect the situation .
4.1. Working group
Findings obtained from qualitative research do not have to be generalized to the universe; thus, it is not obligatory that the sample represents the entire universe . For this reason, sample was not chosen in this research and a working group is determined instead. Among purposive working groups, optimum working group were determined and the members were chosen from whom relevant data could be easily collected by the researchers .
In the working group of the researcher, 21 female citizens living in Famagusta town of TRNC in 2016 participated. Features related to working group are given in Table 1.
|Features of working group||F||%|
|Number of children|
4.2. Data collection techniques
Through semi-structured focus group interview, the participants were asked about their opinions on advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in town, role of women living in town, place of women in management, and their requests and expectations from the government. Their responses to these questions were obtained using an open-ended data collection tool.
Opinions of three experts were consulted for the suitability and fittingness of the prepared questions and, in line with their stated opinions, necessary corrections and changes were made and the questions were finalized; in addition, comprehensibility and ordering of questions were tested with a pilot study.
Internal reliability and consistency of the research was examined by two researchers and the relation between their opinions was investigated. For external reliability, information collected during the research were presented to the working group and preserved.
4.3. Data analysis
Participants were asked questions during focus group interview which took 3 hours in total. The collected data were recorded and transcripted. Participants were coded from A to R during data analysis. Content analysis and data reduction methods were used in data analysis. In this context, the questions asked in the research were accepted as themes based on which subthemes were formed.
5.1. Advantages of being a woman in the city
Findings as regards advantages of being a woman in the city are given in Table 2.
|Advantages of being a woman in the city||Urban facilities (2)|
|Social relations (3)|
|Urban safety and freedom (12)|
|Optimal Kent (Plan) (2)|
|Social and cultural activities of the city (1)|
|City respectful toward woman (1)|
|Historical features of the city (4)|
|Port city (8)|
|University city and education center (3)|
|Lack of economic embargo on women (1)|
|Climate-geographic features (1)|
As can be seen in Table 2, most participants stated about the advantages of being a woman in the city that urban safety and freedom are important for women.
“Being a safe town makes child raising easier and people can give support and assistance to each other” (H).
“People make free decisions and are respectful to the feelings and opinions of their addressees” (A and N).
In addition, according to H, “the town is very reliable, as a woman I can leave home at every hour and I can say that no one is looking hostilely”. In addition, we can say that easy transport and feeling safe are among the blessing of the city”(R).
Eight of the participants asserted that they saw an advantage in the town being a port city:
“Famagusta is also a coastal town; having a sea makes this city more liveable for us and it protects its feature as a strategic town in tourism, which is very important for me (A).”“University town, having a commercial port, existence of job opportunities to men and women alike, without any gender discrimination, are important for me” (D).
Four participants emphasized the historical features of the city whereas such features as social relations, transportation, being a university town and education center were cited as advantages by three interviewees:
“Living in Famagusta is a feature because everybody knows and helps each other” (C, B, K,).“I can reach everywhere in the town easily, for example hospital, market and school are not distant from each other” (B). “I can say that historical pattern and cultural features of the city are the largest impacts for a person to feel comfortable, belonging and happy in a city” (L, R).
Urban facilities and optimal city plan were cited as important advantages of the city by two interviewees. In addition, one participant each stated climate-geographical features, social and cultural activities of the town, climate-geographical features and lack of economic embargo on women as advantages.
“It is a nice thing that women can do any job they want and get equal pay with men, in fact, lack of economic embargo” (M).
5.2. Disadvantages of being a woman in town
Findings as regards disadvantages of being a woman in the city are given in Table 3.
|Disadvantages of being a woman in the city||Discrimination in town (1)|
|Social pressure (1)|
|Being viewed as a sexual object|
|Marginalization of women in government and politics (8)|
|Meeting places specific for women (6)|
|Gender discrimination in traffic (1)|
|University town-problem of different cultures (4)|
|Urban transport (12)|
|Heavy traffic (1)|
|Environmental cleanliness (2)|
|Low population (1)|
|Urban safety-theft-deterrence (2)|
|Insufficient social services (12)|
|Gender awareness-deficient education (3)|
|Groupings among women (2)|
|Low population (1)|
|Discrimination in legislation|
|Cultural activities (2)|
|Municipalities not supporting women (commission) (5)|
|Cultural sustainability (1)|
|Town being approached to the sea (1)|
As can be seen in Table 3, as regards the disadvantages of being a woman in the city, interviewees put most emphasis on insufficient social services:
“The town has several deficiencies in terms of social services; only care for the elderly is not enough; there are women, young people, children and most importantly disabled people; municipality has to be a leader and cooperate with civil society organizations and make centres operable” (N, B).
“Family counselling centres must be established at once under the auspices of municipality; divorce rate are on increase; at the same time lack of such a centre where we can apply in case of a problem or to solve issues related to our children and families is important for mental health”(H, L).
“There is no place to leave our children for a couple of hours; an agreement can be made with pre-school department students at university and offered to us”(P).
Marginalization of women in government and politics was mentioned by 8 interviewees:
“I am totally disturbed by the fact that they look and see woman as different, not as a woman” (D)”.
“When we go to a government office we are always seeing men; it looks like there are no woman managers which is not nice at all” (C and P).
“We want equal say and representation in politics” (G, J, K).
Lack of meeting places specific for women were mentioned by 6 interviewees:
“There is no place where women can perform their social activities and read their books at the same time, I do not want to share the same place with university students” (A, B).
Lack of support by municipalities for women and the need for a commission are topics emphasized by 5 interviewees:
“Commissions which will support women must be established under the auspices of municipality as they will be more scientific and qualified. Such activities should not be left to associations; I think that associations are being used as political tools and many people are abstaining from going to such associations” (R).
“Municipalities do not give sufficient support to women” (C).
Three interviewees stated gender awareness and lack of education as disadvantages:
“That gender awareness is not promoted by a scientific agency in the city through education is one of the most important disadvantages; everyone is trying to do something haphazardly, which is wrong and unacceptable (O)”.
Issues such as environmental pollution, insufficient cultural activities and urban safety-theft-deterrence were mentioned by two participants each:
“I feel insecure when I go to Suriçi at night; it is too dark, there have to be lights in terms of safety, I feel fear, it is like an abandoned place” (R and A).
“Being a university town and home to several cultures is not a good thing; I think that it is the reason of thefts and many other crimes” (Ç and E).
“The town has a very important problem which is visual environmental pollution; for this reason it has no historical pattern, its climate is not good, its coast is not good and its geographical features are not favourable; we cannot accept these in terms of tourism”(F and J).
One interviewee each stated discrimination in the city, gender discrimination in decision-making mechanisms, discrimination in legislation, low population, traffic density, city being approached to the sea and water as disadvantages:
“There is gender discrimination not only in government but also in traffic”(B).
“In politics only the woman branches of parties exploit and use us, we do not want this”(R).
“Legislation is not supportive and protective of women; I think there are deficiencies (N).”
“There is not enough parking space, people are parking their cars on street which lead to traffic jams; roads are full of cars and we cannot cross the streets” (C).
“Lack of sufficient water and provision of water in certain intervals is a serious challenge for housekeeping and makes us nervous” (D).
“Low population is an important factor in terms of cultural solidarity and cultural sustainability; I think this deserves emphasis” (I).
“Our town is a seaside town but we do not have sufficient facilities for using the coast and seeing our sea, which makes me very sad”(G).
5.3. Expectations of women in town from local government
Findings on the expectations of women in town from local government are given in Table 4.
As can be seen in Table 4, the requests mentioned by interviewees as regards expectations of women in town from local government are as given above each of which were emphasized once. Opinions as regards these expectations are as follows:
|Expectations of women in town from local government||Special units to be formed for women in local government|
Facilities in social environments
|Job and skill development courses|
|Women shelters-solidarity houses|
|Participation in politics|
|General registrar of wedding to be elected by the municipality|
|Benevolent society/Social-economi c-cultural|
|Provision of education|
|Quotas to be allocated for women in local government|
|Assigning more women in cleaning works Establishing communication with women|
|Scientific survey works|
|Usable healthy water|
|Avoiding discrimination in employment Founding women markets where women labour products will be sold|
|Foreign language education|
|Founding knowledge centres|
“Our water is not healthy I want usable water”(F).
“We do not have a cultural museum; I think that this is a serious deficiency; cooperation is needed with cultural office of local government” (K).
“when we look at municipal workers I can say that there are few female workers; I feel that there is discrimination in this area; especially in cleaning works because I can say that by their nature women are better in these works” (K).
“Important in terms of female solidarity; many women are victims of violence; women shelter has to be opened at once and cooperate with municipality social services and offer its services” (O).
“Occupational courses and skills courses for our women have to be increased and improved, which will make positive economic contribution to the house of the woman” (Ö).
“Registrar of the wedding must be chosen not by court but by municipality under which woman should exist as well” (Ö).
“Assigning a quota for women at local government is important in terms of representation of women” (L).
“Scientific surveys under the municipality can be made in cooperation with the university and municipality can lead these efforts to create a database of the city” (N).
“There is no place where products of female labour will be sold; woman markets must be established and controlled by the municipality, which will be fair in terms of price policies and controlling” (C).
“Our women must receive foreign language education, especially English and Greek, so that they can socialise with their neighbours and tourists” (I).
“It is a critical deficiency that our city lack a sufficient and usable library” (K).
“Foundation of knowledge centres and creating of knowledge buses, home visits are important in terms of political, educative, socio-economic and demographic structure of the town” (R).
“I want social activity centres and places where we can have nice conversations with our family members and friends, perform activities, and do sports and walks” (P).
“It is a serious deficiency that there is not an activity centre in every region, activity hours are different from each other and no education is provided” (J).
5.4. Self-perceived role of women living in town
Findings as regards self-perceived role of women living in town are given in Table 5.
|Self-perceived role of woman living in town||Educator (11)|
|Volunteer employee (1)|
As can be seen in Table 5, 11 interviewees defined themselves as “educators” as regards self-perceived role of woman living in town:
“Everyone knows and likes me as a teacher” (B, K and M).
“I am so happy that I spent my labour for years to educate the next generations” (D).
One interviewee each mentioned such roles as grandma, laborer, entrepreneur, political, and volunteer employee:
“I used to be a working mom; now I am taking care of my grandchild so they know me as a grandma, not mother” (A).
“I am appreciated to have been a good housewife for my entire life” (B).
“I am a good entrepreneur and I am appreciated with this aspect of mine”(J).
“I work on a volunteer basis in civil society organizations and everyone likes me for that” (K).
“I think that my role in politics plays a critical role in my popularity” (L).
6. Conclusions and recommendations
In the light of the obtained findings, the conclusions are summarized.
Advantages of being a woman in town are as follows:
The first rank as regards advantages of being a woman in town is occupied by defining the town as a reliable and free town (57.14%).
It is said that being a port city is essential; in that, it has a commercial network and employment opportunities which are good for economy (38.09%).
The city having a historical pattern (19.04%) ensures an intercultural tolerance and, as it is a home to many culture, it provides a wider and more tolerant viewpoint toward women.
Being a university town and education center (14.28%) creates income to our town and ensures social and cultural richness by being home to several cultures.
Ease of transportation (14.28%): the town being optimal makes sure that we can meet our natural and social needs. In addition, it makes sure that people reach each other and establish strong social relations.
Conclusions as regards disadvantages of being a woman in town are as follows:
The first-ranked disadvantage of being a woman in town is occupied by deficiencies in offered social services (57.14%). They are determined as the lack of counseling centers under the supervision and control of the municipality, insufficient services provided to disabled people and the elderly, and failure to provide equal service in all regions.
Low density of mass transport in the town (57.14%) was mentioned by several interviewees. The fact that people depend on their own vehicles or taxi services in transport leads to many limitations (in terms of time and economy) and creates excessive traffic density. In addition, lack of development plans leads to parking problems.
Marginalization of women in government and politics (38.09%); interviewees said that women and men should have equal rights, freedom, and representation. They do not think that having women branches in political parties is far from being sufficient.
Women emphasized that they lacked special meeting places (28.57%). As it is a university town, social areas are mostly populated by university students which causes noise pollution. They complained that as a woman they did not have a place where they can easily spend time with their friends or read books, which is one of the reasons for which they cannot socialize and share with each other as women.
The idea prevailed that municipalities should support women (23.8%).
The conclusions on the expectations of women in town are as follows:
Women want that they are integrated with town where they live, ensure that their sense of belonging and self-confidence increases, feel themselves more important and functional in the town they are living and for that effect they are expecting that different types of education courses and short-term certificate programs will be offered by Faculty of Education of the university under the auspices of municipality.
For women, it is stated that special units should be formed in local administrations. Women should be given work and work rights in terms of representation in the state and the economy. In addition, emphasis was put on the need for providing professional skills and offering education at different branches.
Conclusions as regards the role of women living in town are as follows:
The first rank as regards the role of women living in town is occupied by being an educator (52.38%).
In conclusion, taking into consideration the holistic approach in particular, it is suggested that Ministry of Education offers awareness-raising activities with formal and informal training, reorganizes education programs directed at all education institutions and groups starting from pre-school, and adds courses covering social gender equality in harmony with the development levels of relevant age groups. It is believed that in this way, roles and expectations assigned to men and women separately will be replaced by a new and integrated viewpoint based on all human beings, based on which new generations will be raised and participation of women in professional groups or local government will improve in the future in every area. As a result of the research, women perceives herself as an educator. For this reason, if the opportunity is provided to women, they will be successful and effective in education and education management.
In addition, knowing and exploring the existing situations of women in urban life who raise the society and ensuring that individuals benefit more from opportunities and rights of life through education as well as giving support for this effect are seen more important. In addition, satisfying the psychological needs of women in the context of urban life makes the individual more happy, autonomous, and motivated. Thus, women integrate with their town better and lead a more quality life.
It is hoped that the findings of this study will support all central and local government authorities, especially those at Ministry of Education, human rights activists, politicians, civil society organizations in their initiatives and creating social awareness as regards the topic. In other words, it is desirable to create awareness about the removal of gender inequality. For this some preventive and protective policies should be developed. In addition, it is believed that results will shed light to necessary agencies and institutions and set an example. In this context, it is desired that the support needed for ensuring the development and changes that women deserve and expect will be given by parties. Especially, it is suggested that educators, psychological counselors, family counselors, and development psychologists will act as leaders in these initiatives.
Establishment of a committee consisting of volunteers under the auspices of local government with the purpose of meeting the social needs of women, members of which will be experts and relevant people who are able to respond the expectations of women, as well as conducting studies in cooperation with the university in the town under the light of scientific data are other factors that are considered necessary according to the data obtained in this study.