Turkish president Erdogan: Women are not equal to men, should accept motherhood as societal role

"You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men."

November 24, 2014 17:16
1 minute read.
Rosh Hashana prayer

A man prays during Hoshana Raba as Palestinian women walk past.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan set off controversy Monday when he said that men and women are not equal, adding that a woman's job is to be a mother.

"Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women [in society]: motherhood," Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying to an audience of women, including his own daughter, at the Women and Justice Summit hosted by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) in Istanbul.

"You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood,” he said.

Using another example of mothers, Erdogan went on to say that "[Women's] characters, habits and physiques are different... You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men," Russia's RTE news reported Erdogan as saying.

"You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.”

Erdogan called instead for "equivalency" between the genders, though emphasized the need for full equality regardless of gender before the law.

"What is particularly essential is women's equality before justice." 

This is not the first time Erdogan has voiced his controversial views about women. In the past, he has said that women should have at least three children. He has opposed the use of caesarian sections and abortion.

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