“International Women’s Day? Never Heard of It”
Bianet asked women in Konya, central Anatolia, what 8 March means to them. For most, the day itself is meaningless, if they have even heard of it.
Konya - Bıa news centre
06 March 2008, Thursday
I asked women in Konya about 8 March. Here is what they said.
Fatma Selin (cleaner): Women’s Day? No, never heard of it. What use is such a day for us when we are worried about getting by, love?
Gülnur Sümeye Bayram (university student): I cannot find the celebration of women’s day meaninful if we cannot even solve the headscarf issue in this country. The most important thing is that women feel comfortable and free. Women must work more on their freedoms individually, beyond demonstrations. If women develop, then society can change, because it is mothers who bring up their children.
Sebahat Köse (high school student): Women’s day, Valentine’s day…what meaning do these days have? Women must always be remembered. As long as Konya’s local men don’t leave us alone, as long as we cannot walk the streets by ourselves, 8 March seems silly to me.
Keziban Bayik (journalist): Valuing women is not linked to a single day, but to allowing them a platform in social and political life and in local structures. I will not celebrate 8 March until it is clear that women are valued.
Until not so long ago, women could not work in the West because Eve was blamed for her and Adam having to leave paradise. Women could become nurses or nuns. But if we look at our religious history, we see that Ayse, the wife of the Prophet Muhammed, was a kind of Chief of General Staff. We women are superior to men in several ways. Why should we worry about being equal to men?
Deniz Yörük (home maker): I am 45, and so many years have passed at home. I even feel lucky to have gone outside to do the shopping today. As long as the man earns the Money, he is valued. We women are not considered worthy in the eyes of men. 8 March? I think I saw it on TV once. They cut a cake. Is that what you are talking about?
Yasemin Aydin (pharmacist): 8 March doesn’t mean anything special to me. It has become the day of organised women. There are only 30 to 40 women willing to organise even in big cities, so how can this day be important? What is important is that women individually stand up for their rights. I believe that women don’t even have a say in how their children are brought up.
Kezban Atik (homeless and unemployed): I am nearly 50, but I have no place to stay. When I was younger, I looked after my family, my siblings and their children, and suddenly I was too old to get married. But they forgot what I had done for them. My family kicked me out. I have never watched TV, so how can I know about women’s day, my dear.
Sebile Gülen: When women remember themselves, when they say ‘we also exist’ and when they decide to work together with other women, then the world will change. Women must be able to stand tall, without tears in their eyes. That is important for me, not 8 March. (AK/NZ/AG)