Satı Burunucu

“President, stay back! You are a woman.” 

Satı Burunucu

All Municipalities and Local Administration Services Labourers’ Union -Tüm Bel-Sen

Ankara, from the 1990’s onwards 

I had a bad conscience because I thought that I shared the time with others instead of my child, mother, husband, siblings. Well, they also made me feel that bad conscience. They tried to increase this bad conscience. After I gave birth to Zeynep they tried to increase this bad conscience even more. As I travelled outside the city during the breastfeed, I heard my mom say many times: “You left your child. She is just a nursling” I directly experienced that there is no space designed for women actively involved in the union struggle. I learned from first hand experience that women are not offered  spaces that are particularly planned for them, that the burdens they carry regularly increase  and that we are pushed   to be a Hercules who does housework, cooking, raising children, participating in meetings and actions. 

Women face various hurdles in the unions, during the unionist struggles.  You also come across protective acts performed intuitively. You react with a smile: you are in action; you encounter the police forces. The police forces attack. Male members try to pull you away, saying “President, come, you are a woman; you struggle against all the dogs around.”. …  In the past when people punched the table in the executive committee , this was not considered as violence. But now, we know what it means to raise one’s voice. We know that this behaviour is a sign of violence and an attempt to establish superiority. 

To read the full text of Satı Burunucu’s oral history interview of 2022 (in Turkish) click here.