This trade union is ours

Nurşen Yıldırım 

Education and Science Workers’ Union – Eğitim Sen, Ankara, From the 1990’s onwards.

We, women, tried to act by the rule of thumb. We established departments, assemblies …. There were many commissions, of which only the Women’s Commission worked actively and continuously. It still continues its work in the internal organisation without hierarchies starting from their schools, hospitals and workplaces. I think that women’s solidarity is more powerful than men’s solidarity. I keep thinking about possible mechanisms, how to better formulate our concerns, how to create better structural  alternatives. I got the support of women both when I was in the Central Executive Committee, and afterwards. I was very powerful. In that process women who were empowered by solidarity displayed the same solidarity. Women continue to be active in the unions in spite of  not being represented  in union executive bodies. Many of our male friends stopped their union activities once they were no more in executive positions. We cannot meet them except when there is an “important” task to pursue, and in meetings,  as well. But we are still here. We do not leave the place even if they try to kick us out – because this union is ours. 

To read the full text of Nurşen Yıldırım’s  oral history interview of 2017 (in Turkish) click here.

To watch Nurşen Yıldırım’s  video ““Women’s struggle and achievements within the union during the foundation years of KESK” (in Turkish) click below.