Women of Jiyan District Market: We will not allow men to take our place
Women working at Turkey’s first all-women district market called, “Jiyan District Market” in Amed (Diyarbakır) do not want male stallholders to work in their market. “We will not allow men to take our places,” the women say.
Amed – Turkey’s first all-women district market called “Jiyan District Market",which is located in the Bağcılar neighborhood of Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district, has been occupied by men. Despite the resistance of the women, the Jiyan Market was opened to men. Male stallholders have also been placed in the market for a year. The women, who open their stalls on Monday every week, said that the Bağlar Municipality wants to give their stall places to men. “We will resist and not allow men to take our places,” the women told us.
It was opened in 2013
Before the appointment of a trustee to the Bağlar Municipality, most of the directors and vice directors working for the municipality were women. The municipality developed many projects to support women. Jiyan District Market was one of those projects. The project was put into practice in 2013 to support women having a small income. Since then, women have set up their stalls in the Jiyan District Market on Monday.
‘They want to give our market to men’
In 2021, Diyarbakır’s Bağlar Municipality mayor decided to place 400 men in Turkey’s first all-women district market. Several days ago, the municipality made a new decision giving the places of women to men. Objecting to this decision, women kept watch at night and stopped men from setting up their stalls in their market. The women stallholders keep talking to the municipality on this issue. They told NuJINHA that the aim of the decision is to prevent women from working at the market.
‘We will continue to resist until a solution is found’
In the interview with NuJINHA, the women stallholders said that they would resist protecting their market area. Nurdan Salkık, one of the women stallholders, said:
“Only women have set up their stalls at the market for about 10 years. Men have been setting up their stalls at the market for a year after the decision of the municipality. Now, the Bağlar Municipality allows men to set up their stalls on Thursday in the place where we set up our stalls on Monday. If men set up their stall on Thursday, it will prevent us from selling our products. Yesterday, we held a protest. The mayor wanted to meet us after the protest and told us that this decision is a temporary decision. We will continue to resist and hold protests with our families until a solution is found. If necessary, we go to the municipality and march to Ankara. We resist for our bread. We will now allow anyone to take our bread from us.”
‘We do not accept this decision’
One of the women stallholders, Necla Aydın, also reacted to the decision made by the municipality. “They want to take our market from us. We will not give our place to men. We have been working at the market for 10 years. We are laborers and will not allow men to take our place from us. Even if we know that we will die, we will not give our place to men. We do not accept this decision. Men already set up their stalls at the market but we will never accept them to take our place. They want to leave us unemployed but we will not allow them,” she told NuJINHA.
‘We earn nothing’
Speaking about the decision of the municipality, Müslime Kelekçier said, “A year ago, we were threatened to allow men to set up their stalls in our market. Our retail sales have been dropping since men began to set up their stalls in the market because men have vehicles and better conditions. Sometimes, we earn nothing.
Call for support from women
“Now, the municipality tries to give our stall places to men. We learned the decision two days ago. Two markets cannot be set up in a week in a district. People cannot buy anything due to high prices and if two markets are set up in a week in a district, we will not be able to sell our products. Men are told to set up their stalls on Thursday while we are told to set up our stalls on Monday in the same district. We do not accept this. I call on the district governor, governor, municipality and women to support us.”