Highest rate of female shopkeepers in Çanakkale
Cansu Şimşek - ÇANAKKALE
Woman shopkeepers of the northwestern province of Çanakkale, a city known for the high density of female shopkeepers, have said they do not face difficulties regarding their gender while running their businesses.
“Women do not face any hurdles or prejudice here in Çanakkale. Our problems are related to the general problems of the industry, nothing specifically related to being a woman,” 52-year-old Mefaret Ünlü, one of the female shopkeepers in Çanakkale told daily Hürriyet.
The highest percentage of female shopkeepers by population is in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, a recent report by the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) has revealed.
The report put the total number of female shopkeepers across Turkey in 2017 at 265,245, which was more than 254,862 in 2016. The report concluded that Çanakkale has the highest number of female shopkeepers by population, with 4,500 female shopkeepers engaged in various sectors.
One of them, Mualla Kırbaç, started to work as a roasted chestnut seller 21 years ago when her husband fell ill and later died. She attributed the density of female shopkeepers in Çanakkale to the lack of employment options.
“Employment opportunities are limited here in Çanakkale. This drives women to establish their own businesses,” the 60-year-old said.
Atiye Oruç, who has been working in the undergarment sector for 22 years, said she was already familiar with shopkeeping since her father had been a stationary merchandiser.
“I had a small shop, where I used to sell many products, including undergarments. When my children started to grow up, I decided to have a bigger shop in the city center,” she said.
Now, her undergarment shop is one of the most well-known in the city.
“Having the patience and kindness of a mother is one of the key factors for success. That is how you know from first glance the right size and right fit for your customers,” she added.
The report has also revealed the percentage of female shopkeepers to the total number of shopkeepers in Turkey is 15.72.
Çanakkale is followed by the western provinces of Muğla and Uşak, while the southeastern provinces Şırnak, Siirt and Batman have the lowest rate of female shopkeepers by population respectively.
Bendevi Palandöken, the head of the TESK, said women prefer the grocery sector the most, while the food industry is the second preferred sector, followed by hairdressing, market stalls and clothing manufacturing.
“When female shopkeepers receive more support, their numbers will increase even more across Turkey,” Palandöken said, adding that they have been working to increase this number.