The European Union considers the labour law framework as one of the fundamental parameters for the creation of jobs and a gender equal labour market, both of which foster European economic growth and social cohesion. The European Union has introduced a substantial body of equal treatment legislation promoting equality of opportunity. However, there is a need for empirical data generated in the course of sociological research to measure the practical impact of legal rules on different working women by recognizing the social realities of a particular country. The proposed research addresses the impact of gender-related legislation on working women for the first time in the context of a candidate country to the European Union. It looks at the role of labour law and European Union conditionality might play in advancing an ‘equality’ agenda in support of a labour market which is fairer and more inclusive by taking the case of Turkey. The major question focused in this research is: How and in what ways the Labour Act of Turkey, which was improved to conform to the European Union standards, influence the family and work lives of blue-collar and white-collar Turkish women in employment by enabling or inhibiting women to enter and/or stay in the labour market. The research entails a unique threefold analysis of (i) policy addressing gender equality in employment; (ii) experiences of working women who are the subject of that policy; and (iii) consultations with a number of Civil Society Organisations to provide accountability for policy implementation. It also aims at opening a new equality agenda item in the European Union and Turkey on how labour law can progress to support EU 2020-Europe’s Growth Strategy's objective of achieving growth with more women working, as well as principles highlighted in the Copenhagen Declaration. The European policy research will benefit highly from a research proposal that constitutes an advanced theoretical and empirical study of this topic.
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