Emine Semiye Önasya – Wikipedia

Turkish writer, activist and feminist (1864–1944)

Emine Semiye Önasya

Born (1864-03-28)28 March 1864
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died 1944 (aged 79–80)
Istanbul, Turkey
Pen name Emine Vahide
Occupation Novelist, columnist, essayist
Nationality Turkish
Subject Women’s rights
Literary movement Feminism
Relatives Ahmed Cevdet Pasha (father)
Fatma Aliye (sister)

Emine Semiye Önasya (28 March 1864 – 1944), mostly known as Emine Semiye and Emine Vahide, was a Turkish writer, activist, and early feminist.

Early life and education[edit]

Emine Semiye was born in Istanbul on 28 March 1866.[1] She was the second daughter of Ahmed Cevdet Pasha and sister of Fatma Aliye.[2][3] Her mother was Adviye Rabia Hanım.[4] Emine Semiye studied psychology and sociology in France and Switzerland for seven years.[1][3] She was one of the first Ottoman Muslim women educated in Europe.[3]

From 1882 Emine Semiye worked as a Turkish and literature teacher in Istanbul and in other provinces.[3] She served as an inspector at girls’ schools and an assistant nurse at Şişli Etfal Hospital.[1] Her writings on politics and education were published in various publications, including Mütalaa (in Thessalonica) and Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete (Ottoman Turkish: Newspaper for Women) after the declaration of the constitutional monarchy in 1908.[1] She also wrote a math textbook entitled Hulasa-i Ilm-i Hesap in 1893.[5] In Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete she used first several pseudonyms, but later used her name and published various stories and travel writings.[6] Her most-known novels are Sefalet (1908) (Poverty) and Gayya Kuyusu (The Pit of Hell).[1]

Emine Semiye, together with her older sister Fatma Aliye, was a significant figure for the Ottoman women movement.[7] Emine Semiye was much more progressive and less orthodox than her sister.[6]
She established several charity organizations to help women.[2] One of them was Şefkât-i Nisvân (Women’s Compassion) which was established in Thessalonica in 1898.[6] Another charity founded by her was Hizmet-i Nisvân Cemiyeti (Service of Women Association).[6]

She became a member of the progressive Committee of Union and Progress and later, of the Ottoman Democratic Party.[1] In late 1890s Emine Semiye was the head of the Union and Progress Women’s Revolution Committee in Thessalonica.[6] In 1920, she was named a member of the governing board of the Turkish Journalists’ Association which had been called the Ottoman Press Association until that year.[8]

Personal life and death[edit]

Emine Semiye lived for a long time in Paris. She married twice.[3] Her first husband was Mustafa Bey. The second was Reşit Pasha. They divorced later.[3] She had two sons; one from each husband. Their names were Hasan Riza, son of Mustafa Bey and Cevdet Lagaş, son to Reşit Pasha.[3] She died in Istanbul in 1944.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f “Emine Semiye”. Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b “Emine Semiye”. Kitap Yurdu (in Turkish). Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Şahika Karaca (2011). “Modernleşme Döneminde Bir Kadın Yazarın Portresi: Emine Semiye Hanım (A portrait of a woman author in modernisation period: Emine Semiye)”. Bilig (in Turkish). 57: 115–134.
  4. ^ Serpil Çakır (2006). “Aliye, Fatma (1862–1936)”. In Francisca DeHaan; Anna Loutfi; Krassimira Daskalova (eds.). Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries. Budapest; New York: Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-7326-39-4.
  5. ^ Irina Livezeanu; June Pachuta Farris, eds. (2007). “Ottoman Turkey”. Women and gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia (Volume 1). New York: AWSS. p. 226. ISBN 9780765624444.
  6. ^ a b c d e Ayşe Zeren Enis (2012). Everyday Lives of Ottoman Muslim Women: Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete (Newspaper for Ladies) (1895-1908) (MA thesis). Boğaziçi University. pp. 56–59, 144–148. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022.
  7. ^ Elif Bilgin (October 2004). An analysis of Turkish modernity through discourses of masculinities (PhD thesis). Middle East Technical University. hdl:11511/15000.
  8. ^ Nur Bilge Criss (1999). Istanbul under Allied Occupation, 1918-1923. Boston, MA: Brill. p. 24. ISBN 978-90-04-11259-9.

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