Turkey remains a predominantly male oriented business culture. Whilst the Turkish constitution guarantees the rights of equal opportunity for women in the workplace, the fact remains that currently only about 24 per cent of Turkish women are actively employed.
It is worth emphasising that this gender imbalance is more pronounced in indigenous Turkish organisations than in multinational companies where compliance around gender balance is much more actively pursued. Interestingly, certain sectors have been much more successful in promoting women to senior roles – most notably in the financial sector.
As Turkey is a conservative Muslim country, foreign women doing business in Turkey should be mindful of local Muslim sensitivities. For example, it is respectful for women to dress conservatively which means ensuring that clothing for covers most of the body. In the more traditional areas in Eastern Turkey male counterparts may be hesitant about shaking the hands of women business associates and it is probably safest for a woman visiting these parts to wait for the man to offer his hand first.