2 weeks ago, all the world celebrated 8 March International Women’s Day. So what has changed in terms of women’s rights and social life from past to present? What are the positions of women in the world?
In the Ottoman Empire, because of religion and customs, women were always put on the back burner. To give an example, women had not equal property rights with men and in courts, two women were equal to one man and they were working in fields also weave sector but they had not equal rights with men. Until The Edict of Reorganization, women’s rights were not a topic in society. Young Turks criticised the problems of women and tried to make reforms for women. With the Edict of Reorganization, in laws, women gained some rights like opening schools for women or giving vocational education but these reforms were limited only big cities. The biggest breakthrough for women was World War I. With the inadequacy of men, women started to work in factories and public offices.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of The Turkish Republic, was aware of the importance of women’s role in every area. In the first years of the Republic, Atatürk said that ‘There is a way that we can walk more carefree and fearlessly, more honestly. This way is to involve the great Turkish woman in the scientific, moral, social and economic areas of our lives, making her a partner, protector, friend and protector of the man. With the foundation of The Republic, this new state started to work for gender equality and so on. For instance, the adoption of the Civil Code is one of the important things. Republic of Turkey adopted it to Switzerland on 17 February 1926 and made few changes. With this Civil Code, polygamous marriage is forbidden, divorce right given to the women, the woman is equalized with the male inheritance, the age of marriage is restricted, the woman has the right to equal treatment with the man in court, and the marriage gains an official dimension under the supervision of a civil servant.
Moreover, Turkish women gained the right to vote and be elected for the first time in municipal elections on 3 April 1930. Turkish women thus created the first examples of women with political rights in the world.
In Turkey, and in the World, women’s rights still in progress. Every year, United Nations Women and lots of women community make campaigns, protests, and activities to create awareness. However, with all these actions, women’s position has still not reached the expected level. For example, female deputy rates are still not enough in the world. In Asia this rate is 19,4%, in Arabian States this rate is 17,8%, in Europe 26,6% of the deputies are women. The highest rate belongs to Scandinavian Countries with 42,3%. Eventually, 24% of the deputies of the World are women. Moreover, 30% of the scientist in the world are women. When we consider that approximately half of the World’s population is female, this rate seems low.
Apart from the political sphere, inequality continues in working life as well. According to a survey the common problems which women faced are difficulty in promotion, verbal abuse and mobbing, labour exploitation and so on. In Turkey, there are 105 men and only 3 women in the rector position, in addition to this, 11,415 judge and prosecutor are men but just 3,973 judge and prosecutor are women, also there are 12,604 male professor and 5,891 female professor in 2017.
As a result, Turkey still continues in women’s rights path like all the World. There are a lot of things to do. First, we should change the view. For example, people think that men are more talented in the political and working areas. To illustrate, globally, 43% of women and 53% of men believe men make better political leaders than women. In order to move forward, women should trust themselves. Success is not a dream for women. In order to reach goals, everybody tries hard, unfortunately, today, women should try harder. When women reach the positions they deserve, everyone, including them, will begin to trust them, and the solutions for women’s rights will gain momentum.