Objective by the AKP, the ruling party. There

Objective In the last decade there are various political and social transformations have been implemented by the AKP, the ruling party. There are new initiative of family policies, such as three-generational family, and the three kids policies’ are encouraged by the political level. At the same time, women’s empowerment, gender equality gain the political attention due to the accession to the European Union. The neoliberalism, capitalist liberal economy requires and enables women to work and earn the wage and giving them opportunity to be economically independent. This might change the power relations in the Turkish traditional patriarchal family. Within this paper I will investigate the mother-daughter relationship and more specifically,  to pay special attention to the daughter’s empowerment and how their mothers make impact on their self-fulfillment and whether they challenge themselves to change the patriarchal traditional norm of women’s role in the family.

Methods  A total of 20 randomly selected students of the Middle East Technical University were interviewed with questionnaire. The information was collected on the view of patriarchal tradition in family, mother’s role on the personal growth of female students, the relationship with their mothers, the opinion of how to change this conventional structure, and the posing challenges.

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Result the mother-daughter relationship is extremely close (80%), mother’s support is the one of the key indicator of strong relationship (100%). The study shows that family members, especially big brothers are very influential for girls in terms of decision-making.  60% of participants consider the family honor (purity) is not important for themselves but for their families, while for 40% it is important for themselves. 95% believes that patriarchal family structure need to be changed through education. 

Conclusion Young generations have a desire to change the patriarchal society and demand more equal rights same as men. Girls are gaining higher education within their family support, so that it will bring new power relation for women.

Key words:    ?Patriarchy    ?mother           ?daughter          ?relationship  ?neoliberalism



The role of mother is the significant for daughters in terms of their upbringing, socialization, self-fulfillment and their life skills. This study was conducted to determine the importance of relationship between the  mother and daughter in Turkish patriarchal family and whether this relation has capacity to alternate the conventional familial structure. The mother is considered as the  role model of her daughter, and it is clear that mother  makes much greater  impact on her daughter’s fulfillment of the life than her father.  This study aims to explore the importance of mother role especially for girls how to challenge or to fit in the traditional patriarchal, the male dominant environment.  Furthermore, it would be informative to investigate whether the mother’s earnings and education level could challenge men’s domination in the family and help their daughter’s empowerment. Turkey is a secular country with predominantly muslim population. Even though Turkey has been transformed into the secularism from the early Republican era, the Islamic tradition and morality is still prevalent in societal and domestic level. In the 2002 national election, the Justice and Development Party (AKP)  which based on the Islamic ideology, gained the majority of the vote.  Turkey has undergone number of political and societal transformations during the AKP’s victory of the three consecutive elections. At the same time, the ongoing and resolute effort of accession to the European Union which started in 1999 remained stagnant and it is evidently that  AKP aims to bring more traditional ‘cultural’ revival, in other words their own ‘Turkishness’. The number of religious institutions and schools and mosques are booming in the last decade, lifting the ban of headscarf is stimulates the tension between the liberal/secular and religious/conservative wings. The headscarf issue, which is the clear representation of Islam, has been the central issue since the Republican era, is now leading the other way. AKP initiated multiple new policy directions regarding social, family and child policy.  Recent years, president Tayyip Erdogan put a special emphasis on the family reforms and put restrictions on the contraceptives, birth control and abortion. Furthermore, he openly made an appeal to the public that women should give birth to minimum three children and it is the ‘national’ duty of women. In addition, he addressed  to the women association that ‘women are as a deficit and incomplete’ if they are unable to carry the baby, so forth mentioned: ‘rejecting motherhood is like giving up on humanity’ (theguardian, 2016)  Stating women are not equal as men poses a serious question regarding his intention toward societal and cultural policies. In looking at his family and societal policy directions in broader context, the government intends to destabilize and demobilize the secularizing and westernizing societal orientation which has been operated until the current regime. Reviving the traditional patriarchal norm in the family by restricting women’s involvement in labor market is the clear cut example of violating woman’s simple fundamental right. As Simten Cosar and Metin Yegenoglu argue that the pattern that defines the ‘clashing and changing relations of power’ can be elucidated by three elements: socio-cultural factor, conservatism and liberal-free market (2011).

From the neoliberal perspective, conventional family structure faces new challenges due to the capitalism and market economy. Working women despite their education level, earn money to fulfill their economic needs in their family affects the structure of the family and power relations.  Thus, aiming the examine  the challenge in the modern Turkish family, my research is based on the interview of twenty female students of the Middle East Technical University of Turkey. The Middle East Technical University is one of the highest prestigious state universities, which consists of students with great academic performance across the country.  The students age between 20-26 and they are all undergraduate students from the different faculties.  Thus, the interview is conducted within the framework daughters relationship with their mothers, the mothers impact on their personal growth, how to change the long chain of patriarchy, whether family is supportive or not, who is more supportive in her family, who influences more in her decision-making, their personal thoughts about the family honor, preserving virginity. Furthermore,  the students were asked do they feel obliged to take care of their parents when in later live, and the how boys  roles should be in this situation, and the family whether made a huge decision for them without their consent, and how their reaction would be in that kind of situation. Through these questions, the article aims to investigate the relationship between mother and daughter and their empowering effect on each other and its limitations. Nevertheless, what young educated girls perceive the role of women in family in general, and their understanding of patriarchy, the way they see the change in traditional culture.

Understanding of Paternalism – Patriarchy


The notion of paternalism and patriarchy is often associated with the ‘father’ figure, which often indicates the male supremacy, the gender-specific dominance. In fact, it is the terminology that refers to the construction of homogenizing and the total gender oppression (Kandiyoti, 1988). Weber characterized the term as the ‘political system that men rule the societies by way of their position as a owner of the household’. As Hartman defined the term patriarchy by illustrating the inner power relations between man and woman which construes the gender inequality which men over men domination is more focal point than men over women.  (Rasim Ozgur Donmez, Fazilet Ahu Ozmen, 2013). In this sense, we can assume that patriarchy which one assumes the hierarchical power dominance together with sexism, nationalism, violence and exclusion of particular identities that outreaches from political level to the culture.   The patriarchal societal formation resonates back to the ancient time, where people started to do sex-segregated job, men are the hunter gatherers and women do the cooking and cleaning. Thus, these everyday lifestyle created the power relation between man and woman, and it is the root of men dominated society in broader sense. The absolutist notion of patriarchy indicates that the husband has a natural authority over his wife and children (Patil, 2013). The systematic use of physical and psychological violence, economic subordination and work exploitation are often associated with the patriarchy. According to the data of UN Women,  lifetime physical and sexual intimate violence is 38 percent in Turkey, and  ranked 69th country with the highest gender inequality (UNDP, Human Development Report). Within the revival of Islam, there are tendency to preserve the Turkish traditional lifestyle that often seen as the reactionary process to the Western value. As Walby (1997) argues  that patriarchy has not vanished in today’s modern world, in fact it has altered its form from the domestic patriarchy, which is the domestic gender regime to the public patriarchy, the public gender regime. The president Tayyip Erdogan put high emphasis on the family value and the importance to have a big population in order to thrive as a nation, promoting women’s role in traditional way,  supports the Walby’s theory. Furthermore, Kandiyoti (1988) labelled Turkey as a ‘belt  of classic patriarchy’ linking with the Middle East, meaning that the structure of patriarchy is still highly and yet remain to be practiced. The family honor closely connected with controlling women’s sexuality and chastity. 


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