Markets have no gender, the story of Zeynep

Despite being told, 'You can't do it', Zeynep Tilki, 24, decided to give it a try: she opened a store and sell products she buys from wholesalers, showing once again that the market has no gender.

Having decided to stand on her own feet after leaving her workplace, 24-year-old Zeynep Tilki decided to open a place and sell her products in the market.

Attracting everyone's attention after a post on Twitter, Tilki is not the first woman to have taken a step into the market, but it has inspired many women because of her determination.

Speaking to the ANF, Tilki said: “This trade does not have any gender and if you are determined to do something, go and do it. I still haven't achieved anything, but I'm doing my best, I'm trying. Even this effort is a beautiful thing. I believe that we will surely get the reward of our efforts one day. It is very difficult being a woman in Turkey because of the gender gap, but it is also something strong, rewarding."

Tilki decided to start a business and decided to set up a store in the market when she was left with the products she had bought in her hands because of the coronavirus pandemic. At first, her family opposed her, because she was a woman, but despite the big negative reactions, she started to sell products in all street markets of Istanbul. Indicating that she has worked in the private sector for many years after high school and thus she is not a stranger to working life. “I believe that social media can help a lot, especially women. Apart from that, I have received support from every type of working person, men and women. The reason for this is that everyone is having great difficulties in their own life. There is something that everyone dreams to achieve. I met these people at this point in life.”

Pointing out that she had her fears at the beginning, Tilki added: “You are looking for a new start, you are trying to get yourself there, you don't know anyone. Would someone say something wrong? I took a step by challenging all of these fears. From the first day I started at the market, I was asking something to the other people. I thought it may be the wrong approach, but on the contrary I got a lot of support, especially from women. They helped with everything and I started to feel like in a family here at the market.”

Indicating that the local markets are very happy when women see her, Tilki added that she also attracts attention because she is young. “Because I am young, I don't just buy these products from the wholesaler and bring them to the market. We established a friendship. They come to me every week. A shopping lady tells me she was married at a young age and got into trouble. Or another talks about her children and husband. I can see the difficulties women experience in every field from this place.”

Tilki underlined that the society has already been trapped in gender roles for a long time and the efforts of women to overthrow this status quo, “are full of obstacles. We experience this in all business lines. In the past years, we saw the big pressure when female bus drivers were first announced. A woman can be a scientist and also cook in the kitchen, she gives birth to her child, and if she wants, she can choose to not do any of this, and just focuses on her career. Squeezing a woman into patterns just because of her gender and telling her what she can and cannot do pushes us backwards, never forward. Therefore, I want solidarity to exist without difference between men and women. Women have been proving that they have been very successful in the business line in every field for years.”