Scher began his career in 1989 at TCDD Aksel passed to register as Turkey's first female engineer. Seher Aksel, telling the story of stepping into the profession, the difficulties he faced in this work dominated by men and his struggle, said that there was not even a separate toilet for women in those years and that he struggled for this.
Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Ekrem İmamoğlu Referring to the news titled "Moscow Metro has recruited the first female train drivers in modern history" published in the UK's well-established newspaper The Guardian, he shared the following on his Twitter account: In Istanbul, where the first female driver took office in 1988, the number that was 30 until 2019 June 14 increased rapidly in 1.5 years. In a short time, the number of female subway drivers will be 126.”
When talking about female machinists on social media, Haydarpaşa Solidarity member Tugay Kartal shared a few information on the dusty shelves of history with his followers. In his Kartal post, he talked about Seher Aksel, who was recorded as "TCDD's first female machinist".
Newspaper KadıköyErhan Demirtaş's interview with Seher Aksel is as follows:
LIFE STORY OF SEHER AKSEL
Railroad is known as a male dominated profession. For this reason, women were mostly employed in office services for many years. However, due to the decrease in the male population after the Second World War in Europe, especially in the eastern bloc countries, women were assigned tasks in professions such as switches, conductors and revisers in railways.
In Turkey, although management positions in the technical staff who have performed many women demiryolc profession. Seher Aksel, who started working at Haydarpaşa Train Station in 1989 and worked as a mechanic for three years, can be considered the first woman to break the male-dominated understanding in railways.
Aksel City, Yildiz Technical University, Railway Construction and Management Vocational School of Cer began work as a permanent part of the Republic of Turkey State Railways After graduating in 1989. His curiosity about technical issues led him to become a mechanic and this request was accepted by TCDD in those years.
Seher Aksel, who participated in diesel machine auxiliary and maneuvering training courses, successfully completed these courses. Working as a trainee for 3 months, Aksel started to work as a responsible machinist after completing her internship.
But since the working conditions of the period were arranged according to men, he had to struggle with many things. Seher Aksel recounts those years as follows: “I struggled to have a separate toilet for women in the workshop. But 20 years later, a separate toilet was built only for women. The lockers were also side by side. I was the only woman out of dozens of men. There were areas for men to shower, but there was no space for me. That's why I would go home without taking a shower or changing my clothes. "
"I WANTED TO GO TO ESKİŞEHİR, THEY DID NOT ALLOW"
Defining the train workshops as 'the military environment' in those years when he took office, Seher Aksel describes this area where there are strict rules and women had to struggle to make a place for themselves: “I made my first voyage at the end of 1990. For example, I could not use the train to Eskişehir, as they were not used to female mechanics in terms of business administration. If they had given me that expedition, they had to arrange a place to stay. Since all these were not met, I mostly used freight trains, which we call short distance. We used to go to Dil Pier from Haydarpaşa daily. At that time, my dream was to take the freight train to Eskişehir. But they did not accept this. Not only the managers but also our male machinists we worked with did not want this. "
"DID YOU NOT BE A TEACHER?"
Many newspapers interviewed Seher Aksel because the image of a "female mechanic" was very new in railways in those years. The following statements about Aksel were included in a newspaper clipping: “A graduate of DDY High School, Seher Aytaç, 21 years old, said, 'In my childhood, I liked to play with trains, or rather to train games. So now I'm at work on the real train. I love my job, even if I get married in the future, I won't stop working as a train driver. I retire from this job. Cars are the passion of many of my friends, and my curiosity is the train, ”he says.
Although Seher Aksel said “I will not quit being a train driver even if I get married in the future”, he had to quit working as a mechanic after 3 years. Saying “I got very tired during this process”, Aksel explains why he left the mechanic with these words: “My wife was also a mechanic at Haydarpaşa Train Station. When we decided to get married, we decided that neither of us could continue as machinists. But that wasn't the only reason. I got very tired during this process. "I wonder if this is for me?" I was asking. Our salaries were equal with male machinists, but the treatment we received was unequal. The perception that women do this job, men do this job, could not be instilled. I had to struggle with the mentality within the institution for a long time. 'What are you doing girl here? Couldn't you be a teacher or a nurse? ' I met too much with the understanding that says. I worked in the workshop for a while after quitting mechanic. I am currently working in the traction service. "
"I CANNOT FIND THE COMPETENCE OF THE MECHANIST ENVIRONMENT IN THE OFFICE"
Expressing his commitment to his profession with the words “I wish I would continue as a machinist sometimes”, Seher Aksel said “I also worked in the night service when I was a mechanic. It was very tiring, but I also enjoyed it that much. There is a group that we call the maneuvering team. Many people worked on this team, depending on the length of the train. There were couches at the base of the wall, and when we were going to rest, we would sit and rest on the couches. We used to brew tea at mealtime and often make menemen. I could not find the sincerity of that environment in the office. Because everyone was responsible for each other. I think there was a more collective environment. "I still get the taste of tea and menemen as I remember those years."
"I LIKE THROUGH MY HOME"
The historical station has a special meaning as he saw practical lessons at Haydarpaşa Train Station during his student years and then did an internship here. Saying that “Haydarpaşa was a school for me”, Seher Aksel expresses his wishes for the station as follows: “Most of my education passed here. Since this place is currently under renovation, I have been working in Sirkeci for the last 3-4 months. I feel like I was kicked out of my house, so to speak. I spent so much time here when I was a student that when I started to work, many people were saying, 'Isn't your school over, what are you doing still here?' There was life in Haydarpaşa Train Station even in the middle of the night. The stations should be in the heart of the city. Definitely trains should come here. Not only the station but also the port should go back to its old days. "