However, despite the progress, Kurdish and international women's rights organizations still report problems related to gender equality, forced marriages, honor killings and in Iraqi Kurdistan also female genital mutilation (FGM).
Knowledge about the early history of Kurdish women is limited by both the dearth of records and the near absence of research.
In the late 19th century, Lady Halima Khanim of Hakkari was the ruler of Bash Kala until she was forced to surrender to the Ottoman government after the suppression of Bedir Khan revolt in 1847.
A young Kurdish woman named Fatma became chief of the Ezdinan tribe in 1909 and she was known among her tribe as the queen.
It has also increased the visibility of women in social life as well as the influence of women in political life," with female political candidates increasing significantly even in the ruling Islamist AKP party.
In the Kurdish dominated south-east, among women, the rate of illiteracy in 2000 was nearly three times that of men.
Especially in the east of the country the situation is worse: in Sirnak, 66, in Hakkari 58, and in Siirt, 56 per cent of women, aged 15, could not read and write.
In 1996, Kurdish women formed their own feminist associations and journals such as Roza and Jujin.In traditional Kurdish literature, both matriarchal and patriarchal tendencies are found.In the Ballad of "Las and Khazal" (Beytî Las û Xezal), female tribal rulers openly compete over a lover, while in patriarchal contexts, women are subject to male violence.They flee a conservative society where domestic violence is common and there is little opportunity for women. They study Kurdish history and Ocalan, as well as the Marxist theories at the root of the PKK, and consider fighting as much an intellectual exercise as a physical one.Many join because of relatives in prison, and others join to avoid prison." In her book "Blood and Belief" on the PKK, Aliza Marcus elaborates the reaction of Kurdish society in Turkey, deeply rooted in tradition, to the PKK's women fighters as "a mixture of shock and pride".However, eight Kurdish women stood successfully as independent candidates in the 2007 parliamentary election, joining the Democratic Society Party after they entered the Turkish parliament.In 2012, the pro-Kurdish, feminist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was founded.During the World War I, Russian forces negotiated their safe passage through tribal territory with Lady Maryam of the famous Nehri family, who according to Basile Nikitine, wielded great authority among her followers.Lady Adela, ruler of Halabja, exerted great influence in the affairs of Jaf tribe in the Shahrazur plain on the Turco-Iranian frontier.In 1597 (16th century), Sharaf ad-Din Bitlisi's wrote a book named Sharafnama, makes references to the women of the ruling landowning class, and their exclusion from public life and the exercise of state power, wrote that the Kurds of Ottoman Empire, who follow Islamic tradition, took four wives and, if they could afford it, four maids or slave girls.This regime of polygyny was, however, practiced by a minority, which included primarily the members of the ruling landowning class, the nobility, and the religious establishment.