Charity activities were important ways of participating in social life
and becoming visible in society for Ottoman women. Ottoman royal women made
their names memorable via Vak?fs by sponsoring the construction and reparation
of both religious buildings like mosque, mescit and cult centers and public
facilities such as soup kitchens, hospitals and fountains. By the 19th
century, women reached a high level of public physical visibility and mobility
as members of an aid society. Especially after the Young Turk Revolution of
1908, there was an increase in the number of women’s societies. During the
Balkan Wars and the First World War the number of women’s aid societies
increased, and their field of activity expanded through branches established in
various cities in empire. The other women’s associations which were established
for different purposes also organized charitable activities or supported the
aid campaigns during the wars. All these activities increased the visibility of
Ottoman women in public space.
There are some stuabout the visibility of the Ottoman women in social
life and the women’s aid societies, Leyla Kaplan’s book, titled as Cemiyetlerde ve Siyasi Te?kilatlarda Türk
Kad?n? 1908-1960.1 Ebru
Boyar and Kate Fleet’s edited book Ottoman
Women in Public Space2
and Nicole Van Os’s Phd Thesis Feminism,
Philanthropy & Patriotism: Female Associational Life in the Ottoman Empire3
can be given as specific researches. Other than these works, some chapters
of the books of ?efika Kurnaz4 and
provide information about Ottoman women’s aid societies.
Ottoman women’s aid societies with their activities and their impacts on
the visibility of women in public space will be examined in three chapters in
this thesis. In the first part general information about the social life of the
Ottoman woman will be given. In the second section women’s aid societies and
their charitable activities will be mentioned and in the final chapter,
visibility of Ottoman women in public space will be examined.
1 Leyla Kaplan, Cemiyetlerde ve Siyasi Te?kilatlarda Türk
Kad?n? 1908- 1960. (Ankara: Atatürk Ara?t?rma Merkezi Yay?nlar?,1998).
2 Ebru Boyar
& Kate Fleet, Ottoman Women in Public
Space. (Leiden: Br?ll, 2016).
3Nicole Van Os, “Feminism,
Philanthropy & Patriotism: Female Associational Life in the Ottoman Empire” (PhD Thesis, Universiteit Leiden,
4?efika Kurnaz, Cumhuriyet Öncesinde Türk Kad?n? 1839-1923, 2nd
ed. (Ankara: T.C. Ba?bakanl?k Aile Ara?t?rma Kurumu Ba?kanl??? Yay?nlar?,
5 Serpil Çak?r,
Osmanl? Kad?n Hareketi (?stanbul: Metis Yay?nlar?, 1993).