Turkish Women & Women Rights

Mustafa Kemal visited Bursa in 1922 soon after Izmir’s liberation from Greeks.
At that visit in a large victory rally in a cinema. He addressed the women, who outnumbered the men, he declaimed:

‘Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your country than we have been able to do. It is to you that I appeal.’ To the men he said, ‘If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West.’ To all, with a sweeping gesture, he concluded, ‘And all that will still be nothing if you refuse to enter resolutely into modern life, if you reject the obligations which it imposes. You will be lepers, pariahs, alone in your obstinacy, with your customs of another age. Remain yourselves, but learn how to take from the West what is indispensable to an evolved people. Admit science and new ideas into your lives. If you do not, they will devour you.’ (Bursa Visit 1922 – Ataturk The Rebirth of A Nation, Lord Kinross p. 342-343)

As history and events witnessed, our great ancestors and their mothers have always had high virtues. The highest and most important one of these virtues is the fact that they’ve brought up valuable sons and daughters. I would like to stress that, along with their share in general duties, the most important, virtuous and beneficial duty of all for them is to be good mothers. For today’s mothers, to bring up sons and daughters that have the necessary virtues as the active members of today’s life, depends on having many high attributes in them as mothers. For that reason, our women must be more enlightened, more intellectual and more learned than men if they really want to be the mother of the nation. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II., p. 151 – 52 )

In our opinion: The woman in the era of the republic is an honorable, most esteemed being higher than anything else as she has been throughout Turkish history. ( Perihan Naci Eldeniz, T. T. K. Belleten, Vol. XX, Issue : 80, 1956, p. 740 )

Our religion has never demanded women to be lower than men. What god commands to men and women is to acquire the science and knowledge together. Men and women have to seek science and knowledge, and go wherever they could find them. A careful examination of Islamic and Turkish history would show that the rules we feel we have to obey actually do not exist. In Turkish social life, women have never been any less than men in science, knowledge or in any other field. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II., p. 86 )

Turkish women have to be the most enlightened, the most virtuous, the most moral women of the world. The duty of the Turkish woman is to bring up generations capable of protecting and defending the nation with their determination, power and mind. Women, who are the source of the nation and the essence of the social life, can carry out their duty only if they are virtuous. 1925 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II. P. 231 )

Put aside women, the main hope of the Republic of Turkey is not to have to send even men to the battlefields. But if and when an attack on the mighty presence of Turkish nation occurs, Turkish women will be ready, protective and active side to side with Turkish men. Turkish women have done it and will do it for it is a duty for the peace of humanity and peace in the world. ( Perihan Naci Eldeniz, T. T. K. Belleten, Vol. XX, Issue : 80, 1956, p. 742 )

The reason for the lack of success of our society lies in the indifference towards our women. Man comes into the world to live as long as his destiny allows him. To live is to act. So, if an organ of a society acts while the other lies idle, then it means that society is paralyzed. A society must accept all the conditions and necessities on which its success in life depends. So, if science and technology are necessary for our society, our men and women must equally master them. As you know, division of labor is necessary in social life as it is in all the other fields. In general division of labor, women should not only carry out their duties, but they should also take part in efforts for the prosperity and welfare of the society.

The most important duty of women is motherhood. If we remember that a child’s first school is his mother’s bosom, we can understand the utmost importance of this duty better. Our nation has decided to be a powerful one. One of the ways to ensure a powerful nation is to make sure our women are competent in every aspect. For that, our women will acquire scientific and technical information, and complete every phase of education that men complete. Thus women and men will walk side by side in social life helping and protecting each other. 1923 ( Atatürk’s S. D. II, p. 85 – 86 )

Friends, in many great events, Turkish nation have proven that it is a reformist nation that favors change. Although our nation attempted social reform and change before the last few years, it was never successful. Have you ever searched for the reason why this was the case? In my opinion, not to have begun from the basics is the reason . I will be frank on this: A society, a nation is comprised of two genders: male and female. Is it possible to lift a huge block up if you concentrate on one side of it and leave the other side completely unattended? Is it possible that a part of a society reach the skies while the other part is tied to the ground with chains? Undoubtedly, the steps forward on the path to progress should be taken by both genders together. 1925 ( Atatürk’s B. N., p. 95 )

Oh hero Turkish women, you are worthy to rise to the skies on our shoulders.

Today, the discipline to be taught by mothers to their children is not as simple as it used to be in the past. For today’s mothers, to bring up sons and daughters that have the necessary virtues as active members of today’s life, depends on having many high attributes in them as mothers. For that reason, our women must be more enlightened, more intellectual and more learned than men if they really want to be the mother of the nation.

A society is comprised of two genders: male and female. Is it possible to lift a huge block up if you concentrate on one side of it and leave the other side completely unattended? Is it possible that a part of a society reach the skies while the other part is tied to the ground with chains?

Women of no nation in the world can say “ We have worked harder than Turkish women, we have served as much as Turkish women to lead our nations to victory and independence. “

Actually, our women have always been side to side with our men in social life. Not only today, but for a long time past, our women have worked and struggled no less than men on the fronts, in farming, and in making a living.

Maybe it was our men who fought against the enemy with their bayonets, But it was our women who kept the narrow resources available for the army composed of men. It always has been, and it still is our women who make it possible for our country to go on.

No one can deny that it was always our women who made it possible for our nation to keep up its presence during this and previous wars.

It has always been them, the divine women of Anatolia who not only plowed and sowed fields, gathered firewood from the woods and mountains, took the crop to the market and cashed it, provided bread and butter to their families, but also carried ammunition to the front in oxcarts or on their shoulders under severe conditions.

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