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.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.Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, like Kösem Sultan, or sometimes daughters of the sultan as Mihrimah Sultan, leaders of the Harem, who effectively ruled the Empire. The period started in 1520 during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent until 1656, the reign of Mehmed IV.During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, educated women within the elites of Istanbul began to organise themselves as feminists.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.
These campaigns arose due to women's wish to reject the traditional patriarchal code of ethics, honor, and religion which left men to decide the fate of the female body.
One should keep in mind this is not the doing of religious beliefs rather it is in part due to certain laws and restrictions.
One reason that has decreased women attending University was in correlation to the Hijab ban.
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 militia leader.