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FEMINISM – OTTOMAN EMPIRE: قادينلر دنياسى Le Monde Feminin. Numbers 124, 124-2, 124-3. [Kadınlar Dünyası / The Female World]



3 issues of a feminist Ottoman magazine, run and owed entirely by women, and printed in Istanbul between 1913 and 1921 with a goal to increase women’s rights and freedoms in general, and to ensure women’s awareness. A first magazine to publish a photo of a Muslim woman without a veil and with a name and a significant source for the history of the the feminist movement!


3 issues, all 2°, 16 pp. reverse collation, with illustrations within text, colour illustrated and printed wrappers (Soft horizontal folds, small tears in margins, wrappers partly repaired with old tape, minimal staining, otherwise in a good condition).


These are three issues of a famous, today rare Ottoman suffragette illustrated magazine, run and owed entirely by women, and published form 1913-1921. Each magazine featured a portrait of a working and / or emancipated woman and was the first magazine to publish a portrait of a Muslim woman without a veil and quoting her name. The articles include stories and reports, health columns, images of contemporary fashion, poetry etc., with many texts and images being influenced by the western world.  Among the advertisements there are early images of Muslim women, eager for education, victoriously grabbing a book.

All the articles were all written by female authors. The magazine deliberately excluded articles by men as a protest to unfair treatment of women and excluding the women from legal participation in society.

A cover of one of our magazines features a portrait of Grace Ellison (d.1935), an English author and a suffragette, who travelled to Turkey and published books on her observation of the Ottoman treatment of women (Abdul Hamid’s Daughter: The Tragedy of an Ottoman Princess, A Turkish Woman’s European Impressions, An Englishwoman in a Turkish harem).

The newspaper was founded in 1913 by a 20 year old Nuriye Ulviye Mevlan Civelek (1893-1964), who remained the owner and editor until the last number.
Nuriye was born in a poor farmer family to a Circassian father and Turkish mother. She was raised at the Yıldız Palace as a lady of the court and was married to a sultan’s foster brother at the age of thirteen. Soon after the marriage her husband died, leaving her a large amount of money, which she partly spent in 1913 to finance the feminist magazine.

In May of the same year, Nuriye founded the Ottoman Society for the Defense of Women’s Rights (Osmanlı Müdâfaa-i Hukuk-ı Nisvan Cemiyeti) with a goal to educate women and offer them more opportunities for employment. She also tried to change the dress code, which in those days still required from the women to wear a veil in public. The association consisted mostly of Muslim women, but also included some Europeans and foreign journalists.

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