Self-employed workers (Directive 2010/41/EU and some relevant provisions of the Recast Directive)

AuthorKadriye Bakirci
8 Self-employed workers ( Directive 2010/41/EU and some relevant
provisions of the Recast Directive)
8.1 General (legal) context
8.1.1 Surveys and reports on the specific difficulties of self-empl oyed workers
The OECD’s Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2015 report says only 1.2 % of female workers
in Turkey are employers. That is higher than Japan’s 0.9 %, but below the OECD average
of 2.2 %.243
The male-dominated social structure in Turkey constitutes a serious barrier to women's
entrepreneurship. Gender discrimination experienced by women in th e private as well as
the public sphere significantly limits their visible participation in economic life outside their
homes. A sample surve y of nearly 5 000 micro an d small enterprises (MSEs) found that
6 % of them led by women, which shows that women's busin esses tend to be very small.
Nearly half are in trade and one-third are in indu stry. Many of t he one-person women's
enterprises are in home-based manufacturin g. Women entrepreneurs tend to be younger
and have more education than men entrepreneurs, and ab out half of the women
entrepreneurs were employed as wage earners before starting their own businesses.
Virtually none of them made use of c redit for starting their businesses and very few had
access to business support services of any kind.244
8.1.2 Other issues
Another barrier to starting a business in Turkey is the lack of training on how to create
and grow a start-up. Basic ent repreneurship training, for example, would require the
individual to familiarise him/herself with the available opportunities and procedures for
identifying supporting institutions and preparing project application packs, or obtaining
bank loans, and the like (requiring at least a high school degree). This is not the current
skill distribution suggested by the self-employed statistics in Turkey. 245
8.1.3 Overview of national acts
Constitution Article 48 provid es that everyone has the freedom to work and conclude
contracts in the field of his/her choice. Establishment of private enterprises is free. Th e
state must take measures to ensure that private enterprises operate in accordance with
national economic requirements and social objectiv es and in security and stability.
According to Article 117/1 of the Penal Code (PC), Any person who violates freedom of
work and occupation by using violence or threat or performing an act contrary to the law,
is sentenced to imprisonment from six months to two years and imposition of punitive fine
upon complaint of the victim.
The principle of equal treatment between men and women who are self-employed has
been implemented through the HREIA and the PC. The PC stipu lates penal sanctions fo r
preventing a person from engaging in any economic activities due to reasons of hate based
on language, race, nationality, colour, gender, disability, political thoughts, philosophical
beliefs, religions or sects (Article 122). The HREIA prohibits any discrimination regarding
access to self-employment, licences, registration, discipline and similar subjects (Article
243 OECD (2015), Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2015, OECD publishing, Paris. https://www.oecd-
244 Ozar, S. (2016), ‘Women Entrepreneurs in Turkey: Obstacles, Potentials, and Prospects’ in Chamlou, N. and
Karshenas, M. (eds.) Women, Work and Welfare in the Middle East and North Africa, World Scientific; OECD
(2016), Women entrepreneurship Key findings: Turkey Who wants to be an entrepreneur?’, March 2016, Bakirci, K. (2011), ‘Women in Business:
Overview’, in Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, Vol. 1, Sage Publications, USA.
245 See OECD (2015), Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2015, OECD publishing, Paris.

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