Since the first day of the Turkish Republic, women had a very important place in every area of the new government. It was important for women to be active and in the daily social life. The women had to break their shells in order to do this. They undertook roles in arts, sports, politics, became a role model. Below you can find some of the most important women that made a statement, a change in Turkish culture, lifestyle and achieved their goals. These women are leaders, models for the future Turkish society.
Latife Uşşaki was Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s wife between 1923 and 1925. During this period, she symbolized the new face of Turkish women as the first revolutionist first lady who was very social and active in public life which, in Turkey, was an innovation by the standards of those days. She was a very important role model in the reforms which began in Turkey in the 1920s for the emancipation of women. Influenced by her husband Mustafa Kemal, she was one of the first women to discard her head scarf and encourage the Turkish women to do the same.
2-Halide Edip Adıvar
Halide Edip Adıvar was born in Istanbul in 1884 and came from an elite, well-educated family. She was a Turkish novelist but apart from that, she is known to be a nationalist, and political leader for women’s rights. She fought for the emancipation of women and was also a role model which women looked up to. In her novels, she criticized the low social status of Turkish women and how she saw the lack of interest which most women had in changing their present situation.
Sabiha Gökçen was Mustafa Kemal’s adopted daughter. She is known to be the first woman in Turkey to earn a pilot’s license and is believed to be the world’s first female combat pilot. During the 1930’s she became the symbol of a modernized country.
Müzeyyen Senar was a Turkish classical music performer. She was known as the “Diva of the Republic”. Her career started when she entered the Anatolia Musical Association in 1931. In 1932, she started singing on Istanbul radio. Senar’s performances on the radio attracted much attention. Müzeyyen Senar was known for her very powerful and deep voice. Her voice was also adored by Kemal Atatürk and still is by the Turkish people.
Selma Rıza was the first female journalist, the only female member of the Committee of Union and Progress, the General Secretary of Hilal-i Ahmer Committee and the first Turkish female novelist. There are no works that can be found under the name of Selma Rıza, except for Uhuvvet which was written in 1897 but couldn’t be published due to the political unrest. It was re-edited and published in 1999 when a journalist found the original copy of the book.
Cahide Sonku was the first female film director in Turkey and also the first woman to open her own movie production company. During her career, she was also an actress, model, and writer.