Women for Women's Human Rights-New Ways (WWHR) Print E-mail
Demonstration to revise the Turkish penal code
Turkish women advocate for reform of the Penal Code. (Photo: WWHR)
In Turkey, a secular state with a predominantly Muslim population, IWHC supports the organization Women for Women's Rights-New Ways (WWHR) to serve as secretariat of the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR). Founded in 1993 and based in Istanbul, WWHR seeks to enable women's active participation, as equal citizens, in local, national, regional, and international processes of social change.

Advocates for women's rights in Turkey, including WWHR, achieved a great victory on September 26, 2004 when the Turkish parliament approved a major reform of the Penal Code—including the adoption of more than 30 amendments that safeguard women's individual rights, sexual autonomy, and bodily integrity. The reforms were adopted following a three-year campaign led by WWHR. Following a successful reform of the Turkish Civil Code in 2001, WWHR mobilized a coalition of jurists, academics, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations to analyze the Penal Code from a gender perspective and share their recommendations with legislators and members of the media. In 2003, they launched a public campaign to ensure that the reform process resulted in a Penal Code that promoted gender equality and offered women equal protection under the laws. Click here for more information.

In 2000, WWHR published Women and Sexuality in Muslim Societies, an anthology of writings by female researchers, academics, activists, poets, journalists, and cartoonists from various Muslim societies. The volume explores various aspects of women's sexuality through analysis, research, literature, and personal stories, demonstrating that the sexual oppression of Muslim women is not the result of an "Islamic" vision of sexuality, but rather a combination of political, social, and economic inequalities with complex historical antecedents. The book has received attention around the world as a testament to how religion is often misused to legitimize violations of women's human rights.

IWHC has supported WWHR since 1998. Today, we support their efforts to build cross-border alliances on women's sexual rights and bodily integrity in the Middle East and North Africa through the CSBR.

Learn more about WWHR

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Read IWHC's interview with WWHR National Program Coordinator Evre Kaynak, a Young Visionary>>
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