Women’s Empowerment in the Context of Family Composition: An Analysis of The Status of Single Mothers in Turkey
Altan, Neriman Başak
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Existing literature puts less attention on the status of single-parent women with a focus of intra-household dynamics. The aim of the thesis is to analyze the level of empowerment of women with respect to different household types with a specific focus on single-parent households and understand how women's empowerment varies by the age, region, place of residence, and wealth status. The factors behind this issue were employed by using mixed-method approach from a feminist perspective. 2018 TDHS data is utilized in order to answer the research question, through factor analysis using a polychoric correlation matrix, the women's empowerment variable was constructed, and the multinomial logistic regression method was used to identify the relationships between women’s empowerment and explanatory variables. After quantitative analysis, in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 women while women's life course experiences, coping strategies, perceptions of empowerment, and self-image were discussed. Existing literature indicates that women living in single-parent households are particularly disadvantaged due to poverty, while women in higher income groups with own resources - regardless of household status - are already in an advantageous position to decide to divorce or to overcome the challenges of being a single parent woman. On the other hand, by focusing on the differences between household types, the thesis has once again revealed findings that are not unexpected and re-emphasize persistent inequalities: Childcare and household responsibilities are significant barriers to women's empowerment. Therefore, the study argues that single parent women, with the support of internal and external resources, develops autonomy and coping mechanisms to deal with the challenging aspects of being a single parent and are relatively more empowered. By understanding and supporting these mechanisms, single parent women's empowerment could be promoted to a wider scale.