In the Turkish world, royal women continued to live freely for hundreds
of years even after they had accepted the Islam. However, after the Ottomans
connected to classical Islamism, women gradually became isolated from society. There
has been a change in the life of the ottoman women however this change should
not think that they live in imprisonment. Mostly behind closed doors, even their life was
limited; it was in the center of a great activity. Ottoman women were not
lacking from certain influence and social life.1

Historians who study on social life of Ottoman women had examined the
topic from various aspects. For example, Fanny Davis divided the social life of
Ottoman women into two part; domestic social activities and out-of-home social
activities. Main activities of Ottoman women in home were guest reception,
music, dance, and storytelling and shadow theatres like Karagöz- Hacivat.2 In
the social life outside the house, going to the public baths weekly was took
important place because baths were focus of social activity in towns as well as
cleaning needs. In the 17th century, the phaetons begin to be used
in state. With the advance of transportation vehicles, out-of-home activities
of women increased. The upper section Ottoman women were able to go for a ride
to the Golden Horn especially in Tulip Era. The use of tramway in 1870s led to
a greater movement opportunity for women. The widespread adoption of the car
also brought about the activity of shopping for women. They were buying the
goods from a woman called bohçac? who came to home. Afterwards, they could go
outside even to shops in Galata and Pera for shopping. Another activity that
was gone by car is the H?drellez day which was the spring festival. The women
went out to the picnic and celebrated the arrival of spring.3

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Some of the researchers looked into the classes, upper or middle, or
place of residences, city or urban areas, of women. Svetlana Ianeva points out
that;

“Wealth,
age and position within the life-cycle constituted critical boundaries
circumscribing access to public space, more so than gender. These factors
should be one of major significance in dictating levels of female public
visibility are hardly surprising. Women from lower socio-economic strata or at
the bottom of the social heap were more visible, working, shopping, selling,
producing or moving from door to door as peddlers and social go- betweens
bringing gossip or arranging marriages than women from the higher echelons of
society who were less to be seen in the public space.”4

1              Davis, Osmanl? Han?m?, pp.
11-12.

2              Ibid. , p. 177.

3              Ibid. , pp. 149-166.

4              Ebru Boyar & Kate Fleet, Ottoman Women in Public Space, ed
(Leiden: Br?ll, 2016), p.5. 

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