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.
Writers and politicians such as Fatma Aliye Topuz, Nezihe Muhiddin and Halide Edip Adıvar also joined the movement.
The participation of Turkish women in the labor force is less than half of that of the European Union average and while several campaigns have been successfully undertaken to promote female literacy, there is still a gender gap in secondary education and an increasing gender gap in higher education.
There is also widespread occurrence of childhood marriages in Turkey, the practice being especially widespread in the eastern and central parts of the country.
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The role of women in contemporary Turkey is defined by an ongoing gender equality struggle, contributing elements of which include predicate conditions for EU membership candidacy, prevalent political tides that favour restrictive patriarchal models, and woman's rights activism.
Women in Turkey continue to be the victims of rape and honor killings; furthermore research by scholars indicate widespread domestic violence in Turkish population.
During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, educated women within the elites of Istanbul began to organise themselves as feminists.
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.
During the Turkish War of Independence, Kara Fatma a widow proved herself as a successful milita leader.
In the 1980s, women's movements became more independent of the efforts to modify the state.
After the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, women from both urban and academic milieus began to meet in reading groups and discuss feminist literature together.