Saturday, September 02, 2006

Women's Rights and Turkey

We watched the Discovery Channel's show about the Ottoman Empire, but I thought the most interesting part was actually the end of the empire.

After a 3-year revolution, Mustafa Kemal founded the Turkish Republic. He was given the surname Ataturk, meaning the father of the Turks. Even though Turkey is largely Islamic, it was founded as a modern democracy, based on a secular system rather than religious law.

But here's what really impressed me. Ataturk liberated women by giving them political and social rights, including the right to vote and to be elected. This was in the early 20's -- and remember the United States granted women the vote in 1920 only after a long and difficult struggle.

Read more about this forward-looking father of the Turks.

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