Öngösterim Görseli

List of Firsts in Turkish Women’s History


The education of women and the issue of Women’s Rights, which are important achievements of the Republic, are the leading principles of the modern and prosperous society idealized by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Accordingly, women will be able to receive the education they want together with men and be free to choose the profession they want. Atatürk has always supported women to create an ideal cultural environment in many areas of life.

Let’s take a look at the fields where some Turkish women, who left their mark on the history of our Republic, broke new ground in line with these ideals…

First Female Chemist, Prof. Dr. Remziye Hisar (1902-1992): Hisar is one of the pioneers of modern science in the first years of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. She is considered the first female pioneer of the chemistry profession in Turkey. Hisar was also one of the first women to receive Science Education at Darülfünun (today’s Istanbul University). She is also the first Turkish woman to graduate from Sorbonne University with a doctorate degree.

First Female Doctor, Safiye Ali (1894-1952): She is the first female medical doctor of the Republic of Turkey and the first woman to give medical education. Safiye Ali studied maternal and child health, and in addition to her professional work, she also participated in the feminist movement that started in Istanbul. She fought for the right of Turkish women to be elected.

First Female Lawyer, Süreyya Ağaoğlu (1903-1989): Ağaoğlu is Turkey’s first female lawyer and one of the women’s rights advocates.

First Female Prosecutor, Handan Dalay Kaftancı (1912-2002): Handan Dalay Kaftancı, born in Kavala, Greece, is the first female prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey, appointed to Izmir by Ataturk’s special order.

First Female Astronomer, Nüzhet Gözdoğan (1910-2003): Gözdoğan, known as “Turkey’s First Female Astronomer and First Female Dean” is one of the first female scientists of the Republic of Turkey. She is the owner of the number one doctoral thesis in the records of Istanbul University Faculty of Science and the first Turkish associate professor to serve in the Department of Astronomy at the faculty.

First Turkish Female Pilot, Bedriye Tahir Gökmen (1932): The first Turkish female pilot, Bedriye Tahir Gökmen, started her aviation training at Vecihi Flight School in 1932. Gökmen continued her flight training while working as a civil servant, received her badge in 1933.

First Turkish Female Combat Pilot, Sabiha Gökçen (1913-2001): Sabiha Gökçen, Turkey’s first female combat pilot, is also one of Atatürk’s eight adopted children.

First Female Radio Announcer, Emel Gazimihal (1912-1998): Gazimihal worked at Ankara Radio during her years as an announcer, which she started in 1937. Emel Gazimihal is one of the first presenters of BBC Turkish, reported the developments on the BBC Turkish channel during the war years and made women’s voices heard.

First Female Archaeologist, Jale İnan (1914-2001): İnan worked hard to unearth the ancient cities of Perge and Side through programmed excavations that continued for many years. She established Antalya and Side museums to exhibit the unearthed artifacts, and also carried out various rescue excavations against historical artifact smuggling.

First Female War Correspondent and Photographer: Semiha Es (1912-2012)

First Female Museum Curator: Seniha Sami Moralı (1886-1982)

First Female Graduate Architect: Münevver Gözeler (1913-1973)

First Female Graduate Engineer: Sabiha Gürayman (1910-2003)

First Female Nurse: Esma Deniz (1924-1997)


First Female Opera Singer, Semiha Berksoy (1910-2004): Berksoy is one of Turkey’s first internationally recognized artists and one of the art symbols of the Republic period. She performed in the first Turkish opera staged by the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and in the first stagings of the major works of opera at the Ankara State Opera and Ballet. She also holds the title of “The First Turkish Opera Singer to Appear on the Stage in Western Europe”. Semiha Berksoy was called “the woman of firsts” because she broke new ground in many fields of art.

One of the First Female Theater Artists, Afife Jale (1902-1941): Jale began to be known as “Afife Jale” when she first started acting on the stage of the Apollon Theater in Kadıköy under the pseudonym “Jale” in Hüseyin Suat’s play “Yamalar”. She became one of the symbols of Turkish theater by pioneering the inclusion of Turkish women on the theater stage.

One of the First Female Students of Sanay-i Nefise Mektebi, Fahrelnissa Zeid  (1901-1991): Fahrelnissa Zeid is one of the first female students of the Sanay-i Nefise Mektebi, the first fine arts school of the Ottoman Empire. Zeid is a world-renowned artist, especially known for her large-scale abstract paintings and multi-colored complex patterns. Her works, which consist of gigantic paintings, have been exhibited in many internationally renowned art institutions. In 2017, the Tate Modern Museum of Art commemorated Zeid with a retrospective in which they described her as “one of the most important female artists of the 21st century.”

First Female Sculptor, Sabiha Bengütaş (1904-1992): Bengütaş, the first female artist to graduate from the Sculpture Department of Sanay-i Nefise Mektebi, became an important Turkish painter and sculptor in her field.

First Professional Female Ceramic Artist, Füreya Koral (1910-1997): Koral, who realized her art through her personal efforts in Turkey, is the first Turkish professional female ceramic artist. She also established one of Turkey’s first private ceramic workshops. Her pioneering attempt to use ceramics in architecture is the most important step in her artistry.

One of the First Turkish Engraving Artists, Aliye Berger (1903-1974): Berger, one of the first engraving artists of Turkey, made her name known to the wide art circles for the first time in 1954 by being selected first in the painting competition organized by Yapı Kredi Bank.



First Female Mountaineer to Climb Everest (1973), Elif Eylem Maviş: Maviş became the first Turkish female mountaineer to climb Mount Everest, planting a flag at the summit of Everest in 2006.


First Female Machinist: Seher Aytaç


First Female Governor: Lale Aytaman (1944)


First Female Television Announcer: Nuran Devres (1948)


First National Tennis Player to Participate in the Paralympic Games: Büşra Ün (1994)


As Dilko Educational Institutions, with the strength we receive from the women who left their mark in the Republican era, we are proud to continue our journey with our female administrators.

Prepared by: Nazperi YILMAZ