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Women's People's Party (1923)

WOMEN'S PEOPLE'S PARTY (1923)

The first and the only women's party founded in the Republic of Turkey.

The Kadinlar Halk Firkasi (Women's People's Party) was founded on 16 June 1923 in Istanbul. Among its founders were the leading feminists of the time, including Nezihe Muhittin (president), Nimet Remide (vice president), Şüküfe Nihal (general secretary), and Latife Bekir (party spokesperson). The Istanbul Provincial Administration rejected their petition for authorization, stipulating that women did not have the right to vote and hence could not establish a political party. The real reason for the rejection, however, was preparation for the Kemalist Republican People's Party (RPP), which was then being formed and which ruled the country single handedly until 1950.

Undiscouraged, the women established the Kadinlar Birliği (Women's Federation) on 7 February 1924, with the same leadership and objectives but a less political name, which did not intimidate the Kemalists. The federation intended to ameliorate rural women's conditions and, more importantly, to achieve woman suffrage. The latter was very much contingent upon the Kemalist cadre's wishes and did not happen until the eve of the twelfth congress of the International Women's Union, which was held in 1935 in Istanbul. Ten days after the congress, the federation dissolved itself under strong pressure from the RPP that it had fulfilled its primary task.

see also gender: gender and law; gender: gender and politics; turkey.

Bibliography


Arat, Yeşim. "From Emancipation to Liberation: The Changing Role of Women in Turkey's Public Realm." Journal of International Affairs 54, no. 1 (2000): 107125.

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