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What excludes women from landownership in Turkey?: Implications for feminist strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Women's Studies International Forum
Volume69
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)115-125
Publication statusPublished
Early online date14/06/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article investigates the reasons for women's exclusion from landownership in Turkey. Landownership is a crucial element in enabling greater gender equality in developing countries. I argue that the Turkish civil code (1926–2001) discriminated against women in inheriting small-scale agrarian land, and the lack of alignment between separate feminist agendas weakened their capacity to challenge the gender-discriminatory legal framework. Historical analysis of the Ottoman and the Republican periods identifies the diverse implications for women's property rights of transition from the Islamic-premodern to the modern legal framework. The selected period reveals that rural and urban women were divided by changing forms of patriarchal domination, gendered landownership and paid employment. This division of women, alongside attacks and manipulation by the state, prevented the first-wave feminist movement from acting collectively. Consequently, the civil code granted education, employment, and inheritance rights to urban women but discriminated against rural women inheriting small-scale land under cultivation.