National Geographic : 1909 Jan
THE EMANCIPATION OF MOHAMMEDAN WOMEN Photo from Mary Mills Patrick THE SULTAN OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE GOING TO MOSQUE THE DAY AFTER THE CONSTITUTION WAS ANNOUNCED one occasion when the girls in a certain school in Stamboul were to be vacci nated a half-doctor was called in. The Turkish government has until the pres ent time refused the full doctor's diploma to foreign women who have desired to practice in the empire, the only excep tion being an American physician, Dr Mary Eddy, who is practicing in Syria. The medical profession will be one of the first for Turkish women to enter under the new regime. From time immemorial the complex assembly of women in the palace of the Sultan have had their finances controlled by a woman, who keeps under her a number of secretaries or scribes, as they are called, who are also women. In the beginning this office was held by the Valide Sultana, or mother of the Sultan, who always holds a high position in the palace. At the present time the woman in control is called the Treasurer of the Harem. The harem of the Sultan of Turkey has usually contained several hundred women, who are privileged to drive about under careful espionage, to visit the leading shops of the city, and to in vest freely in silks, laces, and jewels. The control of the finances of so large a number of women, who are allowed to spend such large sums of money, has never been a small matter and shows the ability of Mohammedan women along commercial lines. Women of the lower classes, old enough to travel somewhat freely within the limits of the Turkish Empire, have organized simple systems of buying and selling, somewhat more complicated than that of a peddler, and have traveled back and forth between Egypt, Smyrna, and Constantinople, plying their trade with great success. The most familiar example to the in habitants of Constantinople of what a. woman may be privileged to do in com mon commercial life may be seen at: Beshiktash, a village on the Bosphorus..