In 2001, in a southern Turkish village near Siirt, the water lines connecting to the public water supply broke down. This was not the first time that the 27-year-old system had malfunctioned and left the 600-person village without running water for a period of months. Women in the village were obligated to walk to a small public fountain in order to collect water to carry home—a distance of several miles, in some cases—in order to have water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
During the 1990s, feminist and queer activist groups campaigned heavily to reform the Turkish Civil Code, which held many provisions that subordinated women such as establishing the supremacy of the husband in the family. In November of 2001, a new Civil Code was adopted that equalized the status of men and women; however, a similar set of laws established in the Turkish Penal Code maintained the gender hierarchy and protected men from serious sentencing if they committed crimes against women.