Women running electricity operations in Mediterranean province
Two female senior managers run a local electricity company in the Mediterranean province of Kahramanmaraş, tending to the needs of all power issues in the rural areas of the city.
Zahide Yılmaz, the chief operator, and Melek Paköz, an occupational safety specialist, climb up the province’s electric poles and repair them whenever they need.
“During my first years at the job, people were biased about me. Now residents call me and say, ‘Zahine, please fix our problem,’ when there is a power cut,” said Yılmaz.
Directing a group of 11 personnel, Yılmaz noted that it is “tough to be in the electricity business as a woman.”
“My father and my four brothers were electricians. But I never saw this business as a male job,” she added.
Having worked as a chief operator in the company for 10 years, Yılmaz touched on the difficult parts of work, saying, “You know, sometimes I need to go to work at 3 or 5 in the morning.”
When asked if she ever encountered challenges, she replied, “No. I trust my crew.”
She also said that she had earned the respect of the local people.
“Once when they saw me, they used to say, ‘How can a woman be a chief operator.’ As they saw me throughout the years working hard, now they respect me.”
Paköz thinks like Yılmaz, too.
“Yes, usually men work in this sector. It is a hard work, but we work with joy,” she noted.
“As an occupational safety specialist, I solve problems with a woman’s energy,” added Paköz.