Tekeli, ?irin (1944–)

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Tekeli, Șirin
(1944–)

Șirin Tekeli is the foremost feminist author and activist of second-wave feminism in Turkey.

PERSONAL HISTORY

Tekeli was born in 1944, the only child of two secondary school philosophy teachers. She received her high school education in Ankara and completed her college education in political science in Lausanne University, Switzerland. She studied the work of David Easton for her Ph.D. in political science in Istanbul University, where she was employed as an assistant professor.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

The thesis Tekeli wrote in 1978 for promotion to associate professor was on women's political participation, and prompted her feminist activism. Published in 1982 as a book called Kadιnlar ve Siyasal-Toplumsal Hayat (Women and political-social life), this study was the first serious and comprehensive discussion of women's marginalization in sociopolitical life written in Turkish and from a predominantly Marxist perspective. Her interviews with Turkish women parliamentarians, which she included in the book, exposed their striking marginality and problems in political life. The book was widely read, moving beyond a narrow academic circle, and had immediate and long-lasting influence in shaping a feminist culture in Turkey.

Tekeli resigned from her position as an associate professor at Istanbul University in 1981 and began her career as a feminist activist, translating and editing books. She engaged in organizing consciousness-raising groups and feminist publication circles in early 1980s and initiated the founding of the Kadιn Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi (Women's Library and Information Center) and Mor Çatι Kadιn Siğinaği (Purple Roof Women's Shelter) Foundations with her friends in 1990. She worked as a volunteer in the Women's Library between 1990 and 1996, and helped the institution develop into a vital organ of feminist dialogue. In 1997 she responded to the hunger strikes that were staged in prisons by deciding to work for women's entry into the parliament. She founded KADER, Kadιn Adaylarι Destekleme ve Eğitme Derneği (an association to support and educate women candidates) in 1997 and served as its president between 1997 and 1999.

THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE

Tekeli's activities garnered her attention both in Turkey and abroad. The French government presented her with the award of Officier of l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 1996.

LEGACY

It is too early in Tekeli's career and activities to assess her ultimate legacy.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Șirin Tekeli

Birth: 1940, Ankara, Turkey

Nationality: Turkish

Education: B.A. (political science), Lausanne University, Lausanne, Switzerland; Ph.D. (political science), Istanbul University

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1981: Resigns from teaching position at Istanbul University
  • 1982: Publishes Kadιnlar ve Siyasal-Toplumsal Hayat (Women and political-social life)
  • 1990: Helps establish Kadιn Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi (Women's Library and Information Center) and Mor Çatι Kadιn Sιğιnağι (Purple Roof Women's Shelter) Foundations
  • 1996: French government makes her an Officier of l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques
  • 1997: Founds KADER, Kadιn Adaylarι Destekleme ve Eğitme Derneği (an association to support and educate women candidates)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Tekeli, Șirin, and Nukte Devrim-Bouvard. "Turkish Women and the Welfare Party: An Interview with Șirin Tekeli." Middle East Report No. 199 (April-June 1996): 28-29.

                                                Yeșim Arat

                              updated by Michael R. Fischbach

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Tekeli, ?irin (1944–)

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