As a part of interview series with a number of women workers in Turkey, soL news interviewed an educator working as a psychological counsellor about her working life and what she experiences at work as a woman.
As reactionary policies in education continue to harm the system as a whole, another specific attack has recently targeted the profession of psychological counselling and guidance itself as well as its content. An educator working as a psychological counsellor in Turkish schools for 15 years evaluated the new circular issued by the government.
Although the older circular had serious problems, the new one has much more problematic than the old one, the educator says. Despite it is regulated how the Turkish Religious Affairs participate in the education system, the issues related to psychological counselling at schools and what counselling means take no place within the new circular. The circular now, the educator says, only mentions about guidance but "there are no specific conditions about who can perform this kind of duty and what kind of education is needed for guidance. This situation will result in unfavourable consequences," she adds.
According to the educator, the importance of her profession actually increases in the era of the AKP government since the number of incidences of sexual abuse, rape, incest, and suicide increase and the economic problems deepen within the country. If "moral guidance" becomes widespread as the government wishes, the related jobs will be filled with the graduates of Islamic Imam-Hatip schools and this will help deepen the reactionist ideology in the education system, the educator argues.
As a woman worker, the educator mentions that the state does not fulfil any of its responsibilities towards women in times of pregnancy and maternity. She declares that the hardest time of her working life was when she was pregnant. The shortness of paid maternity leaves and that there is no daycare or nursery make the life of women even harder in these conditions, she says. "Although I can be regarded as lucky since I had the chance to get my mother’s help for my baby, this situation means that the state benefits from my mother’s labour", she adds.
The educator also highlights that the struggle for rights in the unions is also very limited and the real problem is the reactionist policies everywhere. The solution for her is to raise the socialist struggle for the emancipation of women workers, and the working class as a whole.