In her novels, Halide Edip Adıvar criticised the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the lack of interest of most women in changing their situation.During the Turkish War of Independence, Kara Fatma a widow proved herself as a successful milita leader.After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the feminist movement gradually became part of the Kemalist modernization efforts.
Women in Turkey continue to be a victim of rape and honor killings; furthermore research by scholars indicate widespread domestic violence in Turkish population.
Women in Turkey also face significant disparities in employment, and, in some regions, education.
The participation of Turkish women in the labor force is less than half of that of the European Union average and while several campaigns have been successfully undertaken to promote female literacy, there is still a gender gap in secondary education and an increasing gender gap in higher education.
There is also widespread occurrence of childhood marriages in Turkey, the practice being especially widespread in the eastern and central parts of the country.
In the course of the 16th and 17th centuries during the Sultanate of Women, women of the Imperial Harem had extraordinary influence on politics of Ottoman Empire.
Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, like Kösem Sultan, or sometimes daughters of the sultan as Mihrimah Sultan, leaders of the Harem, who effectively ruled the Empire. The period started in 1520 during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent until 1656, the reign of Mehmed IV.
During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, educated women within the elites of Istanbul began to organise themselves as feminists.
With the Tanzimat reforms, improving women's conditions was considered as part of a wider modernisation effort. They fought to increase women's access to education and paid work, to abolish polygamy, and the peçe, an Islamic veil.
Early feminists published woman magazines in different languages and established different organizations dedicated to the advancement of women.
The first women's association in Turkey, the Ottoman Welfare Organization of Women, was founded in 1908 and became partially involved in the Young Turks Movement.
Writers and politicians such as Fatma Aliye Topuz, Nezihe Muhiddin and Halide Edip Adıvar also joined the movement.