Women's Revolution Of Emancipation

Turkish Women's Emancipation Timeline

Aliye Berger
Aliye Berger
Afet İnan

29th of October, 1923 The Republic of Turkiye was officially declared. With the declaration of Turkish Republic, legal and structural reforms which would allow women to take active roles in the community gained speed.

3rd of March, 1924 The law on Unification of Education was enacted to make reforms in education. Under this law all, all education institutions were made secular and placed under State Control through the Ministry of Education. Girls and boys had equal education rights.

25th of November, 1925 The Hat Law was adopted to regulate head covering practices of the public and civil servants, and make them compatible with the norms of Modern Turkiye. Only religious clerks were allowed to wear turban and jubbah; it was made mandatory for all civil servants to wear hats; there was no regulation on women's clothing. With the encouragement of this regulation, women on their own accord adopted modern way of dressing.

Aliye Berger
Aliye Berger
İsmet İnönü

4th of October 1926 Under the Turkish Civil Code which was drafted based on the Swiss Civil code and voted and enacted at the TBMM on 17th of February, 1926 women and men made equal. Under this code, unilateral divorce was banned; the legal age of marriage was set, women were given the right to divorce, right to choose any profession, legal marriage was made compulsory and women's shares in inheritance and assets were made equal to those of men.

3rd of April, 1930 With the new Municipality Law, women earned the right to elect and be elected in municipal elections. Same year, the Public Health Law which was the first regulation concerning protection of women and children was enacted.

26th of October, 1933 With the amendments made in the articles no 20 and 25 of the Village Law, women were given the right to be the headman and be elected in the council of elders.

5th of December, 1934 When the bill prepared by the prime minister Ismet Inönü and his 191 colleagues concerning the amendment of the articles no 10 and 11 of the Constitution dated 1924 was adopted, women earned the right to elect and be elected members of the parliament. With the amendments in the law; the voting age was set at 22 and the age of candidacy was set at 30 for all Turkish citizens, men and women.

At the elections of the 5th Turkish Grand National Assembly on 8th of February, 1935, along with 399 men 17 women were elected as members of the parliament and this number increased to 18 during by-elections.

Aliye Berger
Aliye Berger

18-24th of April, 1935 When Turkish women earned rights to elect and be elected at a time political rights of women were limited in most of the Western countries, this stirred great interest in the international arena so with the cooperation of the International Alliance of Women and Turkish Women's Union, Turkiye organized 12. Conference of the International Women Suffrage Alliance at Yıldız Kiosk in Istanbul and welcomed many women delegates from all around the world. Ataturk endorsed this conference and all costs were born by the Turkish Government.

International Women's Rights Timeline

1940 Canada, 1944 France, 1945 Italy,

1948 Belgium, 1971 Switzerland.

Women earned the right to elect and be elected in Turkiye 10 years before France, 11 years before Italy, 14 years before Belgium and 37 years before Switzerland.

Aliye Berger
Aliye Berger

Afet Inan, Turkish Hearth, 3rd of April 1930.

“... as a Turkish citizen I want the right to vote to include everyone without any gender discrimination ...There is no logical reason behind lack of political competence of women. Hesitations and negative opinions about this matter is the last remnant of the social conditions of the past. What we mean by remnant is the scholasticism..."

Today women are very much present in political, intellectual and economic life whether this is desired or not. Today women work in all kinds of jobs; in agriculture, in factories, in shops, in businesses, as civil servants and in all other service industries. Accordingly, women should no longer be withheld political rights. I am not going to explain years of agonizing struggles of "Suffragettes" and the resulting events in England; however I would like to remind you that there is no need to experience similar events to give women their political rights in a democracy.

Aren't there enough examples especially during the War of Independence that show women's capacity, competence and involvement and interest in national matters? In summary women should earn the right to elect. Because the logic behind democracy compels this. Women have matters to advocate and duties to perform for the society; exercising their political rights is good for women. As you know, doesn't the principle of democracy require these?

Our Republic's policy is based on the equality principle. The most ignorant person and the greatest statesman are equal in front of a ballot box. Why should women be excluded from this equality? Women, as well as men, have many rights in the good management of general services. Women have opinions about our society to declare. Women have a sense of justice. Women are sacred, and peace-loving. Nobody has been given the right to ignore women's share in national efforts and work. Establishing Turkish women's rights to vote in municipal elections is a promising start to give these women their rights to elect members and be elected as members of Municipal Council. It was not something expected from the monarchy in the past to give these political rights to Turkish women who had long deserved it! However we will not wait too long to see the outcome of the righteous principle of the democratic Turkish Republic in this matter..."

Aliye Berger
12. International Women's Union Congress.

Ismet Inönü, Prime Minister, TBMM Speech, 5th of December 1934.

"Honourable members of the parliament; we propose a bill for women to elect and be elected members of the parliament. The justified place of our women in Turkish history requires that they have the word and influence on the country's and nation's destiny along with men...

Dear friends, casting Turkish women aside like an ornament , thinking that they cannot be involved in national matters is against Turkish traditions and understanding, and having this problem in Turkish nations represents one of the most important calamities we have endured for centuries - let's not remind you of your sorrows and pain.

Turkish revolution will be mentioned together with the revolution of emancipation of women. This initiative we are taking now is to complete, finalize and optimize this emancipation path... Friends, Ataturk represents our revolution in the best way possible both by leading and making it efficient and prosperous. Releasing this pressure over our nation caused by depriving women of their rights leaving them half-disabled will be considered as one of the most prominent services of Ataturk...

When remembering the works of the fourth Grand National Assembly, next generations will appreciate your efforts to give all their rights to women and to save them from the doings of a bad system, which leaves them in the dark. You will be crowning Turkish women's services to the country by completing their emancipation ...

With the debate over the bill, you will be erasing hesitations from people's minds when offering positions to Turkish women which they rightly deserve. Turkish women will have the opportunity to be involved in the country's destiny, to express their valuable opinions about the benefits and purpose of the laws and precautions for the family and the country in the Grand National Assembly."