A few years ago, on a bus I took in Batman, I was surprised to see that the driver was a woman, because this was not a common situation in our city.
I also liked it when I learned that the woman doing her job under strange looks was not the only driver.
3 women have been driving the public buses of Batman Municipality for 6 years. These women, Pelda Gül, Nurhan Epaydın, and Gülşen Güneş, provide hope for other women in the city by working in a male-dominated field of work and enjoying their job.
On behalf of the Solidarity Women's Carpet Association, we interviewed these women and heard from them about their start-up process and what kind of reactions they encountered in six years.
A process from carpenter to driver
All three female drivers work on the university and airport lines of public buses. Although the passengers of the route they work are not among those who find the presence of female drivers strange, eyes accustomed to seeing men in that seat are initially surprised, albeit involuntarily, when they encounter female drivers. But this astonishment then leaves its place to a smile.
Nurhan Epaydın, who said that they received very good reactions from especially female passengers, worked in a workshop where carpentry works, which were seen as men's work, were done before becoming a driver. Saying that strange looks are no stranger to him, Nuran tells how he decided to become a bus driver.
“Before I started this job, I was working in a carpentry workshop. The workshop belonged to us, but I was doing all the work of a master, my brother called me one day and said that the municipality would buy a driver. I applied and was accepted.”
Nuran had no hesitation when starting this job, nor did she worry about not being able to succeed as she had been driving for years.
The most common question people ask is "Are you not afraid?"
He repeats his answer to everyone for us:
“Why should I be afraid that women can do any job just like men. We shouldn't set limits on ourselves."
“I applied for a job after watching the news about women drivers in Adana”
Reyhan Pelda, on the other hand, was impressed by a news she watched and applied for this job and went to the job application with her husband. Reyhan Pelda Gül, who said that she received great support from her environment, especially her husband, while working, explained how she started working: “After graduating from university, I was in search of a job. One day, while watching TV, I saw the news of female bus drivers in Adana. Encouraged by them, I went to the municipality and applied for a job. 8 months later they called me and I started working. A woman can do anything she wants. ''
Stating that they work with many men, Reyhan said that she has not had any problems while doing this job.
''It is unnecessary to separate the professions as women's and men's professions. If a woman wants, it can be a truck driver. They just need to be brave. We are very happy when our female passengers say that they take courage from us,'' she said.
She worked and raised her child.
Reyhan has a 4.5-year-old son. After becoming a mother, she continued her work and made great efforts to bring both her work and motherhood together. But he does not see both as obstacles to each other.
"Although it was very difficult at times, I never thought of quitting my job. My wife and family have been very helpful and supportive during my difficult times."
“After an hour break, I went home, gave my daughter dinner and ran back to work”
Before she started working as a bus driver, Gülşen Güneş was working in a factory where walnut sausage was made. He saw the job advertisement but did not think of applying, and another woman encouraged him.
"My daughter's teacher insisted that I apply for this job, she encouraged me, so I went to the municipality and applied for a job with the strength I got from her."
After applying, he was afraid to tell his family, but he was very happy when he received positive reactions.
“I went to the municipality for about 9 months. Since I applied first, we waited for other applications, then when two more friends applied, the purchases were made. We started with fear at first, but the reactions were very positive and there were people who congratulated and applauded. As we experienced such moments, our motivation increased.”
Motherhood is the most natural right of women, but since social rights such as long leave periods have not been developed for working mothers in our country, many working women who are new mothers have to commute between home and work. Reyhan and Gülşen also draw attention to this situation.
Gülşen explains that being a working mother is difficult, but she can overcome it.
“I would run home for an hour between work, feed my child, send him to school and return to work. It was tough, but I got over it, women are strong enough to do whatever they want. As long as he realizes it.”
“We expect understanding from the passengers”
Stating that their biggest complaint is the anger of some passengers, the female drivers said that they faced the anger of some passengers because they did not stop outside the stop or because they were late due to traffic jams, and they expected understanding from them on this issue.
“We welcome women who want to work in our municipality”
Managers of Batman municipality stated that they keep applications open for more female employees; “As a municipality, we attach importance to women's employment. We have posted an advertisement for bus driver recruitment in the past months, and we would have liked to have women among the applicants, but they did not. We can make positive discrimination in this area and give priority to women. We invite women who want to work in this job to our municipality.”