Kurdish nomads (koçer) trek up to the highlands in spring and summer and go down to the villages where they set up tents in autumn and winter. Nomads stay in Kiwex village in the Idil district of Şırnak for five months waiting for spring to come. Living in tents in harsh conditions, cooking for children, caring for their animals and patriarchal pressure… it is the women who bear this workload.
Jinnews visited Kurdish nomad women in their villages, camps that consist of huge fabric tents.
Fetîm Ete, describes her life, telling of her love for the pastures:
“I was born a nomad. Nomadic life is hard, we have lots of problems, but we’re not giving give up being nomads. The beauty of the pasture inspires our hearts and if our hearts are content, the pasture is still more beautiful.”
The life of nomads appears very challenging, especially to city-dwellers. Despite all the difficulties, Kurdish nomads are very happy to live with nature.
“This is how we nomads live. We are together with our animals and children, we set up our tents, cook our food and wash our clothes, this is the life of women nomads” says Fatma Ertan, a Kurdish woman who was forced to marry very young when her mother died.
“It was very difficult for me. They gave me great responsibilities at a young age. I did all the work I did at my father’s home at my married home too after I got married,” she states.
The nomads’ lives are also affected by the ongoing economic crisis in Turkey.
“Our lives are harder now. It’s become so expensive to feed our animals. After all, we still have to take care of our animals if it’s raining or muddy. Our lives are hard,” says Fatma.
The statement of another woman, Gülsin Kaya, reveals that it is the women who do most of the work in nomad life. “They (the men) can only shepherd animals, nothing else,” Gulsin says.
“The whole burden is on the shoulders of the women in nomadic life. If there is something the women cannot handle, the men have no chance. Women have to lead the men in every task, or it doesn’t work.”