“Syrian second wives”: Polygyny, gender relations, and the experiences of Syrian and Turkish women


Women's Studies International Forum, vol.104, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 104
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.wsif.2024.102891
  • Journal Name: Women's Studies International Forum
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, American History and Life, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Gender Studies Database, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Keywords: Gender, Marriage and migration, Polygamy, Polygyny, Syrian migration
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Although banned in Turkey in 1926, the number of cases of polygyny has increased in the country as a result of forced migration from Syria. This patriarchal practice, which exposes women to violence before and during marriage, deepens gender inequality. This article seeks to better understand the experiences of women involved in polygynous marriages initiated by Turkish men, and to make gender-based violence visible. It relies on interviews with Turkish and Syrian women part of the same households located in three Turkish provinces bordering Syria. We found that both Turkish and Syrian women experience violence in polygyny, and that their different legal status and the validity of their marriages shape the experiences and demands of these two groups of women.