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During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, educated women within the elites of Istanbul began to organise themselves as feminists.With the Tanzimat reforms, improving women's conditions was considered as part of a wider modernisation effort. They fought to increase women's access to education and paid work, to abolish polygamy, and the peçe, an Islamic veil.Early feminists published woman magazines in different languages and established different organizations dedicated to the advancement of women.The first women's association in Turkey, the Ottoman Welfare Organization of Women, was founded in 1908 and became partially involved in the Young Turks Movement.
In some rural lands like "Rize" women play a big role in being the bread winners.
Writers and politicians such as Fatma Aliye Topuz, Nezihe Muhiddin and Halide Edip Adıvar also joined the movement.
In her novels, Halide Edip Adıvar criticised the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the lack of interest of most women in changing their situation.
In 1993, Tansu Çiller became the first female Prime Minister of Turkey.
In 2002 the Turkish government reformed Turkish criminal and civil law, and since then, the rights of women and men during marriage, divorce, and any subsequent property rights have all been equalized.