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Sinje's Blog - Interview Selva

INTRODUCTION (sinje): I am currently reading the book FRAUSEIN by Mely Kiyak, she was born in Germany and grew up in a Kurdish-Turkish family. Today she lives in Berlin as an author and writes columns for the Maxim Gorki Theater and also publishes books, essays and plays.

"I am a woman. I like to be one. There is no quarrel. No regret. No shortage. But no excess either.

I would like to tell you about that.

I'll start at some point for this. Because there are no beginnings. There is only a look back. "

Page 9, Mely Kiyak, Frauein, Hanser Verlag2020

Mely Kiyak impresses with her view of the world and womanhood, as a child of the first generation of guest workers in Germany who “... never rebelled. Never made yourself politically noticeable, never made claims. The rise of her daughters made up for everything. ”P. 32

In the second part of the blog about women's rights, I talk to four women, all of whom have got a so-called migration background and live here in Switzerland. All four are involved in ExpoTranskultur and talk about their womanhood:


Questions to Selva (Chile)

"I am a woman. I like to be one. There is no quarrel. No regret. No shortage. But no excess either." This is how Mely Kiyak describes herself, how would you describe yourself? Where does your story begin with a look back?

I was born in Santiago de Chile, as a daughter of an immigrant from Croatia and a Chilean woman, with probably Spanish ancestry. My mother and my grandmother were active, independent businesswomen in gastronomy. This is how they earned a living. They provided for their children on their own and made it possible for them to get a good education. It was important to my mother for me to get a good education. I was taught in a private English school in Santiago. For family reasons I continued my studies in Croatia and finally came to Switzerland, where I spent more than half of my life.

I work as an export specialist for a Swiss company where I had the chance over the years to develop personally as well as professionally. I have always been respected and appreciated by my superiors and I also got a lot of recognition for my achievements. Even with us, only men sit on the Chief floor. I must admit that during this long professional career I have had to speak up to be heard by my superiors.

Spain and Portugal, the former colonial rulers, were not at the forefront of women's suffrage in Europe, the triumvirate of church - clergy - Catholicism is an indispensable part of South America, gender roles are clearly defined. The dominance of men is characterized by the term machismo. Women were (are?) seen as saints or whores, and none of these stereotypes enabled them to find their way into Politics. - that's what Wikipedia says. Michelle Bachelet was President of Chile from 2014 to 2018 and with that has refuted the aforementioned stereotype. How did she do it and what influence did she have?

Undoubtedly, the educational reform will be the most important triumph that will commemorate Bachelet; the development and implementation of a concept for a free educational reform, especially for the almost 260,000 affected families, which is an estimated 60% of those introduced by the government reached free university fees. Even for some, this meant a cultural change in a country, a strong neoliberal economy in which education has been treated as a market good for decades. A great triumph for Michelle was to enforce the abortion law in the following three cases: Rape, mortal danger to mother or fetus. Also her fight against corruption was remarkable; It is thanks to her that several laws were changed to prevent corruption in Chile.

Machismo: is that a cliché? Did you have to assert yourself against machos? In Chile or in Switzerland?

Machismo is not a cliché, there was, is and always will be machismo. We have to keep going against it and fight. Fortunately, I haven't personally experienced that. However, as a kid I have experienced some nasty episodes within the family. That's why it was clear to me from a young age that I would never be manipulated or exploited, neither emotionally nor financially.

At the same time there is the prejudice of the divas, who are also overrepresented in South America. Are you a diva?

I do not think so.

When I am abroad, I am repeatedly asked about the Appenzell women, who had to wait for a particularly long time when it came to voting. Do you have favorite stories / anecdotes / jokes about gender issues in Chile (in Croatia)? Best of, worst of?

No, not really. In Chile and Croatia the right to vote for women (1946 and 1948) became much earlier than in Switzerland.

Is It Better To Be Born A Man Or A Woman? Are there differences as to whether we go through Switzerland or Chile?

I can not judge over this. In any case, I feel very comfortable being born a woman and I am very much satisfied.

What are the best tricks & tips to assert yourself as a woman in Switzerland? In Chile? In Croatia?

Three wishes for all women in the world:

1. The basis for me is, no matter where in the world: a good education and a good job to stay active, to be independent and to fulfill dreams. A woman should never quit her job entirely for the sake of simplicity. To be a mother and a housewife. As a result, you will definitely lose your independence.

2. In general, I believe that there is no reason to have negative experiences. When we women meet men on the same eye level, being authentic and giving our best, whether privately or at work.

3. We have to learn to deal with men; For the most part, men can't handle our emotionial side because they think rationally. In any case, women need healthy intelligence in dealing with men and should never make them feel less good, less intelligent, less strong, or less capable than us.


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