Züleyha is an engineer who founded an HVAC company in Ankara 14 years ago. She is part of a small percentage of women at the head of engineering companies in Turkey. She had desired to be an engineer since she was a child, but the road that took her to Derin was not an easy one. After graduation she started working in the private sector until she had her first child. “I was the only woman in that environment, which did not make things easy for me. As soon as I had my first child, mobbing began from other colleagues and superiors because they thought I could not possibly combine work and family life. So I decided to quit and establish my own company.”, she says with a proud look in her office in the district of Cancaya in central Ankara. Züleyha created her own company without any financial assistance from the State, and thinks that the scarcity of economic support put in place for especially women entrepreneurs is one of the major difficulties to overcome. “You all too often must create your own business without the relief of forms of public or private support schemes. This is especially true in the case of schemes for maternity.”, she explains.

In her opinion, gender discrimination means today that women have lower opportunities than men, even when they are at the same professional level. She wishes that both maternity and paternity leave could be longer in Turkey, in order to allow women entrepreneurs and their husband to combine work and family life more easily. “We made progress in the last fifty years of course, but women still need to be given more opportunities if we have to reach a state of true equality. Beginning with salaries.”, she says. The efforts she had to make over this past fourteen years though made her proud of what she built on her own: A strong team of both men and women, which she supervises and guides, helping each others and working together towards a common goal.


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