Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Food for Thought!

Tonight is was Turkish class again. Mercifully, we did not have to struggle again with grammar, but did it in an incidental way through conversation.
The conversation was quite wide ranging from topics such as how our week had been,  when and why we had first come to Turkey, to the status of women in Turkey.
I have found the status of women to be an anomaly. With the coming of Ataturk, women in Turkey were given the right to vote before many of their European counterparts, the veil was outlawed , civil marriage and divorce introduced ( divorce only made legal in Ireland in 1995) and were given  the right to inherit property etc. This was very advanced thinking for the time. Therefore, you would think that in this political climate, women would flourish and have equal status with men.
From the outside looking in, this does not seem to be the case. Many Turkish films I have watched have a theme of violence against women running through them and this seems to be accepted as the norm by many. What happens in the home  seems to be dominated by the male. One of my friends, whose house is divided into two apartments, was forbidden by her husband to go out into the garden when their tenants were at home because the men would be looking at her.
I find it hard to reconcile that in a country where the equal status of women was legally recognised at an early stage, the attitude to women remains very traditional.
Ozge, our teacher made a very interesting statement. In many countries where women gained the right to vote, they won this right after many years of struggling and campaigning.  Turkish women were given the right to vote, they did not work to attain it themselves. Food for thought. Perhaps it is only when we struggle for something we realise how valuable it is.

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