Against the traditions: Tajik women with “masculine” professions
Submission on the division of occupations into “male” and “female” in Tajik society still persist. Is it worth it to divide them? Trolleybus driver Sadbarg Saidov, welder Rohila Murodova and tractor Sairam Sharipov sure that it is not necessary.
Our correspondent in Dushanbe, tells about three women who chose contrary to the established norms of the “male professions”. But it was not easy for them.
However, their stories are the exception rather the rule, because the majority of Tajik women are still afraid to go against traditions and public opinion.
For our heroines, the independent choice of profession is a great achievement, but before they were able to use it, each of them have passed difficult, and sometimes even bitter way of life.
Their example shows young girls that they can achieve the dream.
Sadbarg Saidov, 46, Dushanbe
I am the driver of a trolley bus. Work on the line for seven years. To be honest, behind the wheel, I sat in despair, simply because at some point I had no other choice.
I was born and raised in the countryside. Graduated with “excellent”, dreamed of becoming a policeman, but to continue their education failed. For the village in my time, hardly anyone of the girls after leaving school he went to UNIVERSITY. As we were preparing for marriage, this was our main purpose — so we were brought up. My parents were no exception, and they held the same views.
Most women meekly accept their fate; those who reject centuries of accepted norms of behavior, very little.
You have to understand that you’re not just fighting tradition, you can offend the parents, they can turn on you, and this is the worst. The word elders is law.
So me at age 20 I was married. My consent of course nobody asked. These are national traditions.
I soon gave birth to four children. But the family life went wrong, and we soon parted. After the divorce I went back to my parents. Your space I had, my husband lived in his parents ‘ house.
In the family home, everything changed. The brothers managed to marry, there was daughter-in-law, their children were born. Became crowded together. I couldn’t stay there and decided to try his luck in the city.
In Dushanbe I began to do what she could do well — cooking. Got a job as a cook. First in the dining room at the Bazaar, then in the canteen. Tired, scared, got a little.
Somehow one of my friends suggested me to go to study to become a trolleybus driver. At first I did not take this offer seriously, then got very scared. I — driving public transport in the city with heavy traffic? Around the car, the people, can I handle it? I, a village girl, control the trolley? To cook food, wash dishes, clean — Yes, it can, it’s a female thing, but driving? Very scared.
But decided to try. How can wash pots and peeling potatoes! Enrolled in driving courses. He studied for a few months; gradually the fear left, there was confidence in their abilities.
For seven years I drive a bus. My children are very supportive. But others had a mixed reaction to my work.
Men favorably to my occupation, but women do not always behave appropriately. Condemn me married housewife.The news3 reasons why women despise other women
They just don’t understand me. They provide men who decide for them all the problems. They do not think that life is different, and tomorrow they may be left without this support. And then what?
I get up at four in the morning, and at five already going on shift. My work day ends at six, eight, and sometimes 11 PM. This is difficult physical work, sitting, working with people, each with different character and mood, but I should always be friendly and collected. Hard work, but I like it.
His daughters and sons I was not able to give education. I have not had the opportunity, but I really wish they got a specialty occupation. His daughters married.
My dad is now very supportive and proud of me. He cites me as an example to the brethren; he regrets that once gave me permission to study. Unfortunately, life is not to turn back, because I really suggest to parents: children need to be given the opportunity to make choices in their own lives.
Rohila Murodova, 22, Kulob
I am the welder. It was my choice. On my course in Kulyab construction Lyceum learn 27 people, of which I’m the only one girl, and all the other men. I really like the chosen specialty. To master the welding thing, too, was easy.
My parents reacted calmly to the fact that I decided to become a welder; it was my first decision on their own.
After high school I wanted to go to College, but my parents decided to marry me off. My husband my idea of studying is not liked, because of it, had to forget. We lived together for two years. During this time I had two children.
Husband periodically went to work, and I lived in his parents ‘ house. Mother-in-law disliked me, I was often beaten, insulted. I silently endured all, but mother in law insisted on divorce.
Husband did not argue with mother. He gathered my things and took me kids to my parents. Just brought and left, said I did not like them, did not meet their expectations.
Without money, without an apartment, without support.
Divorce was a turning point not only for me but for the parents realized their mistake. I understand that children need to raise, parents to help. I got a job as a clerk, saved up some money and entered the building Lyceum. Pastry chef, cook, nurse, dressmaker didn’t want to be, but the specialty welder I like it. Desired specialty.
In the future I plan to open a welding shop and I make my own money. A woman should be able to do, not to wait and endure.
Many people do not like my choice. Judging me, asking questions, but I do not care for the opinions of others. I really want to be as a man, because a lot in my life suffered. And now I want to learn to be strong to protect themselves, children, parents. If my parents didn’t give me away, my life perhaps would have been different. Now they feel regret, but it is impossible to change.
Sairam Sharipova, 17, Shahrinav
I’m a tractor driver-machinist.
I grew up in a single parent family — mother and younger sister. I have no father. Able to nine-year part-time education, and then had to withdraw from school. Mom had to help around the house, and the money we had.
On admission to the University haven’t even thought of. It needs a lot of money, but they first need to earn. Decided to enroll in school and to become a tractor driver-machinist. I was the only girl on the course.
Girls rarely choose a specialty, which in society are considered to be male. Usually come those who have difficult life situation. Divorced women, often girls whose parents are divorced, and the daughters brought up by the mother.
I work and study. That bring goods from the city and sell in his home town. My earned money we live.
I believe that I received a specialty very much in demand. In rural regions it is important and necessary work, because I can always find work and earn money.
Many of my friends and neighbors made fun of me. When I walk by, they shout: “Oh, here comes the tractor, see, is a tractor!” I quietly respond to these attacks, knowing that they are just as lucky in life they never had to solve a complex, adult problems.
I had to start working, I quickly began to realize that mom needs help. In my life I was faced with great problems of life that have taught me many things.
The first time was difficult to master this specialty. Especially when I first sat behind the wheel of a tractor. It seemed to me that a car that big… But then got used and is now free to drive a tractor.
Had to work hard, but I knew that by choosing something, it is impossible to retreat. I realized that I’m doing all this for the sake of their own future, in order to help my mother support her younger sister.
Now I want to find work in the specialty.
I think many girls want to learn a male-dominated profession, but they are afraid of public opinion, and this is wrong, because in difficult times, strangers in your life.
They will not come to help, not support in word and deed. You need to take your life into your own hands and be bold.
When we first came matchmakers, our neighbors they tried to dissuade. They said that I have learned among men, I’m a tractor driver. “Well, some of it can get a wife? Suddenly she’s not a virgin?” they say. I then thought long and hard about what I chose, why it was necessary and what’s bad is that I decided to become a tractor driver.
They’re confident that women and students of men are unable to be honest. These stereotypes are still widespread in Tajik society, they continue to make life difficult.
Let it be said. No need to fear what they think and say about you other. I learned not to hear and not think about them. Most importantly to me, honest work and clean money.
Russian service Bi-bi-si, Dushanbe