This article is a historical analysis of Girls' Institutes in Turkey. These schools were established in the early Republican era in order to educate girl students to gender roles compatible with modernization and with the westernization project of the Turkish state. The analysis is based upon qualitative data (including interviews and focus groups). The findings point to four trends in the history of Girls' Institutes and in the characteristics and life chances of graduates in the period 1927-70. These were (a) the shift from 'good housewife and mother' training schools to vocational schools; (b) the downgrading of the employment of graduates; (c) a shift from singleness to marriage; and (d) the redefinition of gender roles by women themselves.