At the Turkish Union of Chambers of Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) first women entrepreneurs' board congress yesterday, TOBB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu called for positive discrimination to boost female employment and urged that Parliament set up a commission on gender equality. More than 600 female entrepreneurs from around Turkey participated in the congress held at TOBB University in Ankara . Stressing the importance of women's role in society, Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey fares poorly in female employment, with only 24 percent of all women in the workforce, compared to a world rate of 49 percent and European Union average of 56 percent. Also addressing the gathering, State Minister Nimet Cubukcu said that traditional values limit women to responsibilities in private life. "But every day women are overcoming cultural and economic obstacles to join the economy as entrepreneurs," she added. Cubukcu said the government had introduced new regulations to permit flexible work hours for women, but their effect has yet to be seen.