This International Women’s Day (8 March), we invited Şükran Bayçura (General Manager at IPUD (İyi Pamuk Uygulamaları Derneği) – Good Cotton Practices Association) to provide us with an interview on her experience in the cotton industry:
When did you join the cotton industry?
After working in the Corporate Social Responsibility departments of companies and various NGOs, I crossed paths with the leading entities of Turkey’s cotton sector in 2013. This marked the beginning of my cotton journey.
Tell us more about your role:
IPUD is a national NGO working at the field level for sustainable cotton production in Turkey. I have been working at IPUD since its foundation. I manage IPUD’s overall activities and I also manage the Better Cotton Initiative program in Turkey.
What is it like being a woman in the cotton industry?
Being a woman in a largely male-dominated industry provides lots of potential for implementing change, which is challenging but fun. The best part is showing determination for the values and opinions you believe in regardless of others, especially if your opinion isn’t taken into consideration just because you’re a woman. It’s a sector that teaches you to be persistent, decisive and stand up for what you believe in.
Women take very important roles in different segments of the industry. For example, IPUD works with many women agricultural engineers and we have been directly witnessing the difference that women can make at the field level. Nevertheless, there are still not enough women at the decision-making level, a fact you may notice at industry events. The cotton industry can do more to achieve a gender balanced environment and we should set targets to get there. The industry stands to benefit immensely from the potential and professionalism that women can add to the sector.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It represents an occasion to review our progress, set and revise targets, implement policies for gender equality in our organizations and set an example for other organizations and governments. Ultimately, International Women’s Day serves as a moment both to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements and also to take actions to pursue even more.
What is your message to other women in the industry?
Let’s keep having fun as we advance gender equality but at the same time we must stand up for what we deserve. Solidarity among women throughout the sector will benefit everyone, so I encourage all of us to find ways to communicate with and support each other.