Fatma Nevin Vargün

Oh my God, is it us who did this!

Fatma Nevin Vargün 

Education and Science Workers’ Union – Eğitim Sen, Adana, 1990s

There were three women in the executive office. We sent an invitation to all civil society organisations in Adana to celebrate March 8 together. Around ninety women came to the first meeting. Gaye Erbatur from the university was among them, as well as the Atatürkçü Düşünce Derneği and women from the most extreme left. There were really many people. Everyone agreed on holding a demonstration, but there were so many topics that we could not agree on and the meeting lasted for hours. At one point the partners of the women started to phone and asked, “Where are you?” We had long discussions at the following meetings, too. One of our major topics was the name of the action: March 8 Working Women’s Day or March 8 World Women’s Day. Finally, we decided to write March 8 World Working Women’s Day on one side of the meeting site and Working Women’s Day on the other side. We discussed the slogans a lot, too. Everyone criticised the others’ slogan. After long hours of discussion we compiled a list of slogans. At that time the police forces intervened in everything. They examined our banners, placards, and slogans one by one. We realised that we were arguing to no avail. We decided to continue with our slogans and leave the police forces to themselves. They asked me to make the demonstration speech. That was my first demonstration speech; I was very excited; I even had my dress tailored just for this occasion.  I could never forget this; my feet shook; but it turned out to be a good speech. In the demonstration we were about to cry out of joy. Around two to three thousand people participated. We said, “Oh my God, is it us who did this? ” After this we have celebrated March 8 every year. 

To read the full text of Fatma Nevin Vargün’s oral history interview of 2016 (in Turkish) click here.

To watch Fatma Nevin Vargün’s video on “The First March 8 demonstration, Adana 1996” (in Turkish) click below.