History of the Republic of Turkiye

Women's rights
Hatı Çırpan, 1935 One of the first female muhtars and MPs of Turkey.
1934 Dec 5

Women's rights


The Ottoman society was a traditional one and the women had no political rights, even after the Second Constitutional Era in 1908. During the early years of the Turkish Republic educated women struggled for political rights. One notable female political activist was Nezihe Muhittin who founded the first women's party in June 1923, which however was not legalized because the Republic was not officially declared.

With intense struggle, Turkish women achieved voting rights in local elections by the act of 1580 on 3 April 1930. Four years later, through legislation enacted on 5 December 1934, they gained full universal suffrage, earlier than most other countries. The reforms in the Turkish civil code, including those affecting women's suffrage, were "breakthroughs not only within the Islamic world but also in the western world". In 1935, in the general elections Eighteen female MPs joined the parliament, at a time when women in a significant number of other European countries had no voting rights.