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Gateway to Western Modernity: The Case of Turkish Women

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Abstract The Turkish Republic is accepted as one of the most advanced Muslim countries in regards to the emancipation of women, according to widely produced literature about the region. Turkey’s commitment to modernization is the underlying reason behind this premise. Women played a critical role as the symbols of westernization project at the center. I shed light on the women’s empowerment trajectory and examine the extent to which the republic kept up with its promise of emancipating women. A critique of this project from outside sources helps decipher the codes of failing to fulfill the expectations of the female population. I first discuss how the republic rendered women the symbols of modernization and the measures it took to secure this rendering. I then examine women’s empowerment in political, economic and social realms at various time intervals in history. I conclude with some of the current challenges before full emancipation of women in Turkey.

Affiliations: 1: Howard University and George Washington University, Email:; 2: Howard University and George Washington University


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