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Title: A capabilities-based approach to gender justice : changes and continuities across three generations of women teachers’ lives in Turkey
Author: Cin, Firdevs Melis
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 0645
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines lives of selected women teachers from Western Turkey and aims to shed light on issues of justice and equality regarding women teachers as societal actors and agents of change engaged in education to improve the lives of others. llluminating the lives of three different generations of women teachers in Turkey from the country’s establishment as a republic in 1923 through to contemporary times, this thesis takes an historical journey through the lens of selected lives to consider what it means to be a woman and a woman teacher in the Turkish context. Thus, it addresses the gap in research on women and women teachers’ lives, opportunities and freedoms in Turkey. The data for this research was obtained from fifteen life-history interviews with women teachers from different generations, focusing on their life experiences starting from childhood. The interviews present a shifting account of women in Turkey and of their vigorous struggle for rights in public and private spheres, as well as their often passive, powerless, and silent positions within these spheres. The study does not address the lives of all women, or claim to speak for those different from the selected group, nevertheless from these selected lives involved in education an argument can be made about persistent gender inequalities in Turkey. The research draws its theoretical framework from Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach, and the related concept of Amartya Sen’s agency. It uses capabilities as tool for evaluating the valued functionings and capabilities, freedoms and lack of opportunities in women’s lives as an argument for constructing a gender-just society. From a feminist perspective, the research provides an analysis of the reproduction of the gender order and inequalities; and questions justice, agency and well-being in women’s lives. The findings suggest that these women teachers’ lives were shaped by gendered and cultural norms in family and in social institutions (such as the education system, the workplace) which systematically subordinated them, and restricted their capabilities and agency. At the same time, their lives highlight the transformatory potential of education. The results also point out a fine-grained difference between women’s private lives (family and personal life) and public sphere (schooling and professional lives), in which the latter provided more opportunities and opened up women’s lives whereas the former was more restrictive of their capabilities and agency. The application of the capabilities approach to these women’s life experiences supplies a good basis for critically considering women ’s lives; indicate a direction of change and progress in the opportunities offered to women from the Republican generation to contemporary times. This direction of change gives good guidance reconsidering gender justice and education about now and the future and opens a dialogue to compromise on the ideas and freedoms that could bring women equal respect and dignity with men, in virtue of all being human.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available