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Women In The Ottoman Empire Essay

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It is universally acknowledged that society is made up of two parts—the men and the women. The Ottoman empire was no exception. From the 13th century to the early 20th, the Ottoman empire held a central role in the world of global politics, commerce, and culture. They conquered vast lands, spread Islam, and created a rich and glimmering culture. But, one must recognize that women, because they make up half of the population, played an important role in Ottoman society as romantic partners and financial agent; however, women were also dealt the role of being subservient to men. Women deeply influenced society through their romantic and familial connections. As Solomon Schweigger, a Catholic priest who traveled through Turkey in the 16th century…show more content…
One scholar claims that women in the Ottoman empire came to court often, confident that their voices would be heard and that justice would be served (Doc.9). Women enjoyed some legal and financial freedom, which thus enabled them to own land and make investments. In Ankara Shari’a Register Number 2 (years 1588-1590), the combination of monetary claims, inheritance, and sale of real estate cases involving women was 39% (Doc. 10). Women were active in the finical and legal system of the Ottoman empire, buying and selling property and transacting monetarily. Clearly, women played a large role in the Ottoman economy. Even indirectly, when not openly handling business transactions, women bought silks and satins, perfumes and jewelry, thus stimulating the economy. However, even though women could carry out some commercial transactions, they were not socially free. As a female activist in the late Ottoman empire angrily asked, “Why is it that the Turkish woman is equal in the eyes of the law and like any other citizen must pay taxes, yet does not have the right to vote and be elected to office?” (Doc. 4). Indeed, women were free to engage in economy activity, including oh-so-useful tax paying, yet they were not allowed to vote. Even though women did play a dynamic role in Ottoman society when it came to commerce, societal expectations were not so
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