Department or Program



Given extensive reforms targeted at improving gender equality in Turkey since the 1920’s, one would assume that women and men enjoy a comparable social status, but this is far from the case. To explore this puzzle, I analyze the disconnect between what the state wanted to do in regards to improving women’s rights, and what it actually could do on the ground. While the majority of feminist literature relies on a restrictive understanding of the state as uniformly patriarchal, I will expand these explanations to factor in an assessment of state strength and implementation capabilities. By looking at education and labor reforms from the early Turkish Republic and under the current ruling party, I will outline the ways in which the Turkish state simplified the woman question, then failed to adapt their proposed reforms to a variety of Turkish contexts, leading to significant local resistance. By acknowledging the limits to state power and the variety of interactions between state and society, my approach provides more concrete evidence necessary to fairly evaluate states’ commitment to gender equality and social change.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Aslan, Senem

Date of Graduation

Spring 6-2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


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