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Kadın / Woman 2000

Yıl 2000 , Cilt 1 , Sayı 1

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Women in cyprus from prehistoric ages until today

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Some aspects of women in Cyprus within the context of the island's cultural heritage through the centuries are presented in this article. It is impossible to deny the part of the women in sharing the difficulties of the hardships of life when we consider the civilisation history of the island. An attempt to write the history of her past would not enable one to find enough written information concerning her life. However, the life of women for nearly 7000 years whose names are buried in the silent secrecy of the ages is only possible by the evaluation of the data came to sunlight through the archaeological excavation while the rest of a period of another 2000 years is based on the scanty knowledge recorded in the archival documents and some printed books such as travel books as well as ethnographical and folklore studies. The written sources about the Turkish women in Cyprus is through some archival documents particularly kept in the National Archive, Vakıflar (Evkaf) Archive and also some documents kept at the Museum of Mevlevi Tekke today. These are revealing interesting information since they are the documents kept by the Court. Together with these original Ottoman Turkish sources, the travel books written by the European travellers give much more information about the social life of women in Cyprus. Although the main emphasis of the article was intended to be on a near past which is mainly the Ottoman Period of the island, the evolution of women from the Neolithic Age to the present day is surveyed for this article. Our study show the fact that although woman held a more important position until the end Bronze Age, she would lose her power with the beginning of political problems on the Island in the Iron Age. Then she would be only a silent worker without any title and her life will be limited to domestic works. For this reason she would be depicted as love goddess like Astarte or Aphrodite in art objects rather then being depicted as Mother Goddess. The Law Courts in Ottoman Cyprus seem to protect the woman's rights whenever they would appeal although she is given only one half inheritance rights that is normally given to a male. This was the same for her witness cases. The contemporary Turkish Cypriot woman now is much more educated and is having important positions at business life and equal right in the society and family. But it could not be denied that still today she has to work harder then her male counterparts for her achievement. The study is therefore presented in the chronological way and tried to explain her position as well as her contribution to the economy life in the family as well as in the society. It could be seen that the women in Cyprus are not much different than the women living in the neighbouring countries in the whole Middle East.

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