Blog

08 March 2021

International Women's Day 'Inspiring Women in Olam Progida'

International Women's Day  'Inspiring Women in Olam Progida'

The celebration of International Women's Day (IWD) is held on March 8 every year across the world.  It is a celeberation of women’s achievements in political, social and economic areas while raising the political and social awareness about gender equality. It is recognised each year as a symbol of the movement for women's rights.

Although women constitute half of the population in Turkey (40 millions), sadly labor force participation rate for women remains as 34.5% (Turkish Statistical Institute, July 2019). Hence, we still need to remark IWD in our agenda as loudly as posssible.

The participation of women in the labor force is one of the most important developmental factors of the society. In Turkey, there have been many projects targeting to increase employment rate of women and to protect female labor rights.  As an example, we would recommend to take a look at the 'Get More and Better Jobs for Women: Women's Empowerment in Turkey with Decent Work' project led by International Labour Organization.

In Olam Progida, female labor force refers to 68% of our employees and 647 women. We prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment in our business through equal opportunity principle and great care about protection of female labour rights. Women On the Roads for Hazelnut is one of the projects we carry out for women’s empowerment in the field. In collaboration with EYKA Education and Consulting Center, we aim to ensure that  seasonal migrant women workers  adopt an attitude and preventive health behavior in seeking rights to maintain the well-being of their lives/health at risk due to their mobile/temporary living conditions.

'Inspiring Women in Olam Progıda'

In order to emphasize the meaning and importance that we attached to March 8,  International Women's Day, we would like to share with you the inspiring stories of successful women from the OLAM Progida family:

Burcu Türkay

Burcu Türkay

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I was born in Istanbul. I graduated from Boğaziçi University, International Relations department. There was a special program at universities at that time. With this program, I also graduated from the Binghamton University, State University of New York / Department of Political Science. During my university years, my interest in international relations, human rights, social and development issues increased, so I started my career by working in non-governmental organizations.

What does this sector mean to you as a woman?

I am currently working as Global Sustainability Manager for Edible Nuts in Olam. It is a proud feeling to be a senior and young female executive in one of the largest agricultural companies in the world. Our company has many efforts to empower women and we have a working environment that offers women equal opportunities. It is pleasing to be a decision maker and leader in a sector dominated by men, such as the hazelnut sector.

Please tell us one of your success stories to inspire other women

Our company holds supplier meetings every year. The participants consist of 60 men. I have been organizing these meetings since I started working in Olam Progıda in 2017. Although it was seen a bit odd for a woman to attend and even lead these meetings, I believe that I reoriented the meetings in a way that the hazelnut industry was not used to. Thus, we have once again proved the power of women. People are now accustomed to the idea that there could be women workers and leaders in the hazelnut industry.

What is your message to women?

They never stop doing what they believe in. I am sure that they will overcome the difficulties they encounter with their courage and strength. The important thing is to be confident in ourselves and not giving up trying.

After Covid-19, did you have any difficulties in home-work life balance with the emphasis on working from home? What kind of support did Olam Progıda provide for you in this regard?

After Covid-19, there were big changes in our working life. Domestic and international travels were restricted. As a member of the Covid-19 Crisis Committee, I once again understood the value the company attaches to the  health and well-being of the staff. By making significant investments in health and hygiene, we have implemented a number of new applications to adapt quickly to the changing working order. A healthy and safe environment was prepared for us in our working environments, and even all the rules that we should obey in our home and social life were diligently and continuously explained.


Öznur Baş Akyüz

Öznur Baş Akyüz

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I was born in 1986 in Samsun. I started working as a paid teacher. I got married in 2011 and I am a mother of a son.

What does this sector mean to you as a woman?

When Kocaali Progıda factory was opened in Sakarya province in 2014, I started to work as a Quality control personnel. My role has been changed as a Human Resources personnel since 2018. Working in the Kocaali factory with 78% of the female employment ratio makes me feel strong and safe.

Please tell us one of your success stories to inspire other women

After getting married and moving to Kocaali, I knew that job opportunities were limited in the district. But I decided to go to work, even in shifts, and started to work in Progida. During this period, I became a mother. At the same time, I progressed in my career and became a Human Resources Personnel. Today, I am a strong working mother!

What is your message to women?

You will surely face difficulties in life, never let these difficulties discourage you. Continue your way, getting stronger. Always have confidence in yourself and believe that you will achieve what you dreamed of.

After Covid-19, did you have any difficulties in home-work life balance with the emphasis on working from home? What kind of support did Olam Progıda provide for you in this regard?

Olam Progıda greatly supported us during the Covid-19. Both the measures we have taken in our factories and the flexible working style, it offers us has enabled us to overcome the pandemic period safely. I am happy to be a member of the OLAM Progıda family.


Pembe Yayla

Pembe Yayla

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I was born in Giresun where I completed my education until the university admission. I graduated from Ankara University, Department of Chemistry. I started to work in Olam Progıda as Quality Control Supervisor in 1995. My 26 years of journey has been ongoing with different roles: Quality Supervisor, Senior Quality Supervisor, and currently as Quality Manager.

What does this sector mean to you as a woman?

The meaning of this sector is different for me, this is my first and only place of work, so I grew up with the company. I took part in the establishment of the company, I took part in the development and installation of all systems. As a woman, I have always been proud that majority of the Progıda employees are women.

Please tell us one of your success stories to inspire other women

The first quality and food management system, environmental management system, ISO systems in the hazelnut sector were established in this factory. We have always broken new grounds in the sector. We kept informing and supporting ourselves; our team, and our colleagues so that these processes have been regularly carried out. We have provided all employees with trainings on quality management systems, food safety, environment, and energy management. We have managed customers' perspectives and expectations in line with Progıda expectations. We have served as a bridge between customers and Progıda. We have understood, referred and managed correctly in line with the interests of Progıda.

What is your message to women?

Women should always be at the forefront of business life. It is always an advantage for women to be in the business. They can bring a different perspective to their work. They think fast and generate practical solutions

After Covid-19, did you have any difficulties in home-work life balance with the emphasis on working from home? What kind of support did Olam Progıda provide for you in this regard?

In the early days of the pandemic, I worked from home due to chronic patients at home. Working from home in a manufacturing company is quite difficult. Luckily, I was able to work from home as I did in the office. I was able to balance home and work very well. The pandemic process has been a manageable crisis for food companies. Hygiene rules were already 100% applied, but additional social distance and mask rules have been integrated. In this period, we also made extra effort to motivate the team.


Seden Gürsoy

Seden Gürsoy

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I was born in 1978 in Giresun where  I completed my education until the university admission. Since hazelnut has been the most favorite product in the Black Sea Region and my father was working in Fiskobirlik (Turkish Hazelnut Cooperatives), I met with hazelnut at a very young age.  The smell of hazelnuts and the stories of the people working in the processing plant constitute some of the reasons why I preferred food engineering as profession. I graduated from the Food Engineering Department in Samsun On Dokuz Mayıs University in 2000. Since then, I have been actively working.

What does this sector mean to you as a woman?

I have been working at Progıda Olam for 21 years. I started my job as a Quality Control Officer at Piraziz Factory in Giresun province. After 16 years, I was assigned into Progıda Samsun Sesame Factory as Quality Assurance Manager and I still continue to work with this role.

Olam Progıda is a workplace with full of equal career opportunities. It supports its employees in terms of professional and personal development. I think that as women, we have a great advantage in every sector due to our diligent, detailed and multi-directional way of thinking.

Please tell us one of your success stories to inspire other women.

In 2004, we broke new ground in our field by taking an active role in obtaining the ISO 22000 Food safety management system certificate, which is a first in the Black Sea region.

What is your message to women?

There are difficulties in life, but each one has solutions. Do not be afraid of difficulties and inequalities. Improve yourself in every way and feel free to take an active role in business life. Remember, we are always role models for our family and society members.

After Covid-19, did you have any difficulties in home-work life balance with the emphasis on working from home? What kind of support did Olam Progıda provide for you in this regard?

Our company supported all of its employees in this regard. For example, it reduced our exposure by enabling us to work from home with its flexible working model. I am once again proud to be a part of the Olam Progıda family, as it enables us to spend this period in a healthy and safe way.


Sibel Korkmaz

Seden Gürsoy

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I was born in 1979 in Ordu. I am married and have two children. I have been working at Progıda since 2005. I started my job as a hazelnut picker. I was promoted to the position of shift responsible and I continue to work with this role.

What does this sector mean to you as a woman?

Olam Progıda taught me that women can perform any task men do. So, it was a turning point in my life.

Please tell one of your success stories to inspire other women

I have been working at Progıda for 16 years. Over time, I have learnt how to take care my home and children while working. This made me stronger.

What is your message to women?

Women should not stop supporting and showing each other that they can fearlessly tackle anything. It makes me proud to be a working mother.

After Covid-19, did you have any difficulties in home-work life balance with the emphasis on working from home? What kind of support did Olam Progıda provide for you in this regard?

Of course, I have experienced some degree of the difficulty, but thanks to Progida, we are trying to overcome all together. I am very happy to be work in a company that always supports us financially and morally.

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Buket Özboylan