Source: Today's Zaman
Turkish lawmakers, who have studied constitutions of other countries from the perspective of gender equality, have found that the Rwandan and South African constitutions are picture perfect in that regard.

According to a report from Parliament's Research Center, women have been represented in the parliament of Rwanda in the greatest numbers. The 2003 constitution of Rwanda prohibits gender-based discrimination, although women in the country continue to face social inequalities. The 1992 Family Code improved the legal position of women in regard to marriage, divorce and child custody.

Since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, women have come to play a more important role in the formal sector although the majority of Rwandan women still work in subsistence farming. Women occupy some of the most important government ministries and make up more than 50 percent of the country's parliamentarians. By law, Rwanda, which has a population of 11.4 million, must have at least 30 percent, the critical mass needed to make a difference in the struggle to promote women's rights, of the seats in government, including local government.

The South African constitution of 1996 has also been exemplary as far as gender equality goes as it establishes a state institution, the Commission for Gender Equality, to ensure it. The commission must promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.

Parliamentary research has also found that the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) lead the way in eliminating gender inequality.

Thirty percent of all South African parliamentarians are women, which puts South Africa, which has a population of 50.5 million, at number eight in the world in terms of gender equality in government.

In the Turkish Parliament, women only fill about 15 percent of the seats, an improvement from the low 9 percent in the previous assembly, but still insufficient to shape policies. In 2007, when a delegation of Turkish women's rights activists mentioned Rwanda's successful use of political quotas to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he brushed them off.

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