“Women of ’68 and their experiences of bargaining with patriarchy”

Beşpınar L. Z.

TURKISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, vol.12, pp.233-266, 2021 (Journal Indexed in AHCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Page Numbers: pp.233-266


In this article, I examine the experiences of women who had assumed leading roles in the ‘68 student movement, the trade union or political movements after 1968 in Turkey, on the basis of their own narratives. I argue that these women dramatically diverge from the previous and following generations. The theoretical framework of this article is based on Deniz Kandiyoti and Ayşe Durakbaşa’s works. Kandiyoti’s thesis is that women were “emancipated” in Turkey only on the ground of “rights” thanks to the legal regulations, but it was not totally possible to use the rights in practice. Women were not in fact liberated at all  and were obliged to bargain with the patriarchy on the usability and limitations of the rights on levels and forms changing according to the class positions of the concerned women.[i] Besides, I will also discuss the differences between the women of ‘68 with the “girls of the Republic” idealized by the Republic itself “as liberated women”, but who, according Durakbaşa, lived “under a guised contract with their fathers.”[ii]

[i] Deniz Kandiyoti, Cariyeler, Bacılar, Yurttaşlar. İstanbul: Metis Yayınları, 1997

[ii] Ayşe Durakbaşa, “Cumhuriyet Döneminde Modern Kadın ve Erkek Kimliklerinin Oluşumu”. (A. Berktay Hacımirzaoğlu, Der.). 75 Yılda Kadın ve Erkekler. İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yayınları, 1998.