Barnes Türkiye

Celebrating International Women's Day in Türkiye: A Tribute to Strength and Influence

Life of the region

Friday 08 March 2024

Picture Celebrating International Women's Day in Türkiye: A Tribute to Strength and Influence

On March 8th, International Women's Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm across the globe, and Türkiye, with its storied history of advocating for women's rights, stands prominently in these celebrations. This day holds immense importance in Türkiye, serving not just as a commemoration of women's achievements but also as a steadfast reminder of the continuous journey towards equality, justice, and respect in all life's aspects. 


The Roots of March 8th

The inception of International Women's Day is deeply rooted in the labor rights movement. It emerged from the harsh realities faced by women workers, who were often subjected to grueling conditions with little appreciation. The spark that led to a broader movement for women's rights began with these workers' refusal to accept the status quo. Their collective awakening paved the way for a larger struggle, not just for their rights but for recognizing the interconnected injustices across society.

In August 1910, during the International Socialist Women's Conference in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin, a prominent advocate from the German Social Democrat Party, proposed setting aside a day to focus on advancing women's rights and setting new objectives. March 8th traces back to the protests by women workers in Russia in 1917, which, according to the Julian calendar used at the time, took place on February 23rd, equating to March 8th in the Gregorian calendar we use today. This historical alignment is why we commemorate Women's Day on March 8th.

Celebrating Success and Solidarity

The journey of women's rights is filled with challenges that can sometimes feel isolating. However, the power of shared experiences and mutual support among women in various aspects of life—be it at school, work, or within the social sphere—can illuminate solutions previously obscured by adversity. By showcasing solidarity and support, we not only overcome these obstacles more effectively but also set a positive example for future generations, emphasizing the significance of cooperation and inclusive participation in society without gender biases.

For the children who will shape the future, understanding the importance of gender equality and recognizing women's rights as human rights are crucial lessons. Teaching them to value freedom and equality for all, regardless of socio-economic or political backgrounds, is essential not just for Türkiye but for the global community.

The Importance of Role Models

Presenting successful and economically independent women as role models to children is pivotal. From a young age, individuals are influenced by those they admire, adopting their behaviors and aspirations. By exposing children to the stories of successful women, we open up a world of possibilities, showing that there is no single way to lead a life but a multitude of paths one can take. This approach fosters empathy and respect for diverse life choices, laying the foundation for a more inclusive and understanding society.

Türkiye's commitment to women's rights was significantly advanced under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Türkiye. On March 20, 1930, Türkiye was among the first countries to empower women with the right to vote and be elected in municipal elections, further extending these rights to village headman elections in 1933 and to parliamentary elections on December 5, 1934. Atatürk's vision was clear: recognizing the indispensable role of women in shaping society. In his words, "We must believe that every single thing we see on Earth is the work of women."


As we observe this pivotal day, it is crucial to shine a light on the extraordinary Turkish women whose enduring impact on society continues to inspire strength, resilience, and success. Herein, we, at Barnes, pay homage to some influential Turkish women who have significantly shaped various sectors with their remarkable contributions:

  • Halide Edib Adıvar - Celebrated for her pivotal role in the Turkish War of Independence and her significant contributions to Turkish literature, Halide Edib was a prominent novelist, nationalist, and political leader whose legacy continues to inspire.
  • Sabiha Gökçen - As the world's first female fighter pilot, Sabiha Gökçen not only made her mark in Turkish aviation but also paved the way for women globally to challenge and transcend the boundaries in male-dominated fields.
  • Leyla Lydia Tuğutlu - Renowned as Miss Turkey 2008, Leyla Lydia is an actress, model, and fervent advocate for environmental conservation and animal rights, exemplifying the multifaceted impact women can have.
  • Neslişah Sultan - Hailing from the Ottoman royal family, Neslişah Sultan's life story of resilience and dignity amidst adversity symbolizes the enduring strength of Turkish women through the ages.
  • Elif Şafak - As Türkiye's most widely read female author and an award-winning novelist, Elif Şafak's extensive body of work, translated into over 50 languages, has made a profound impact on both Turkish and international literature.
  • Sanem Oktar - Leading the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER), Sanem Oktar actively promotes women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, highlighting the dynamic role of Turkish women in the business sphere.
  • Şebnem Ferah - A venerable figure in Turkish rock music, Şebnem Ferah's influential presence in the music industry inspires countless young women to pursue their passions and break free from traditional confines.
  • Canan Dağdeviren - A pioneering scientist and inventor, Canan Dağdeviren is internationally acclaimed for her groundbreaking work in wearable and flexible electronics, embodying the innovative spirit of Turkish women in science and technology.

At Barnes Türkiye, as we reflect on International Women's Day in Türkiye, we not only celebrate these extraordinary achievements but also recognize it as a call to action to persist in the quest for gender equality and women's rights. This day is a tribute to the power, achievements, and ongoing challenges faced by women, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration, championed by Türkiye's commitment to women's rights and the remarkable women who have played pivotal roles in shaping its society.

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