Professor Huriye Martı became the first female deputy president of Turkey's state-run religious authority, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB), also known as Diyanet.
A professor of Islamic sciences in central Konya province's Necmettin Erbakan University, Martı is scheduled to take office today.
The 43-year-old academic is part of a new government initiative to add more women to senior cadres of state institutions, especially in the male-dominated religious authority. After an academic career focused on study of hadith (Prophet Muhammad's sayings), Martı served as an editor for a project on hadith by Diyanet. In 2011, she was appointed as head of a Diyanet department on family and religious guidance. In 2014, she served as an adviser at the religious authority and gave a conference on religion's views of women and family.
Speaking about the appointment, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Martı was picked after consultations between president, prime minister and Diyanet President Ali Erbaş. He added that the government decided to appoint at least one female deputy mufti for each 81 province. The practice of hiring women as deputy muftis started 12 years ago as Diyanet's bid to reach out to the female faithful. "We will also increase the number of female preachers," Bozdağ told reporters.
In the past decade, Turkey sought to increase the engagement of more women in religious institutions. Since its inception in 1924, women's role in Diyanet was largely confined to serving as preachers and tutors of Quran lessons in neighborhood mosques.
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