Travel

The First All-Women Expedition To Kilimanjaro Aims To Highlight Gender Inequalities In The Outdoor Industry

The expedition - a collaboration between Irish high-altitude trekking company Earth’s Edge and Galz Gone Wild - will be led by female porters and guides from Tanzania

Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, is the highest single free-standing mountain in the world.
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Why are there fewer women in the outdoor industry? Various studies have shown that women in the outdoors industry are still few and far between. There have been improvements in the last few decades with several women taking to mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, and more.    

Irish high-altitude trekking company Earth’s Edge is one of the companies in this space that is trying to change all that with its women-run expeditions. And it has recently announced the first ever all-female expedition to Kilimanjaro. Scheduled for July 2022, the epic trip to the ‘roof of Africa’ will not only be attended by an all-women group of guests, but will be led exclusively by female porters and guides on the ground in Tanzania. They are hoping that the expedition will shine a light on the gender inequalities in the outdoor industry and provide much needed jobs and training to women in the region. Earth’s Edge says that they will be employing 80 local women in Tanzania, to work as expedition guides, cooks and porters. 

They will not only going to be using their existing team of female porters on the ground in Tanzania, but will recruit and train new ones to encourage more women into the industry. Maggie Samson, Director of Operations in Tanzania, says: “Most of the female porters that I’ve met left school early, so they’re not qualified for other jobs. That’s why being a porter is the best job for them, then they can progress into guiding”.

For the expedition, Earth Edge has teamed up with Galz Gone Wild which reconnects women with nature and the outdoors through our hikes, adventures, getaways, workshops and events all across Ireland.

Earth Edge says that the project will lead to them having at least 30% female staff on all their climbs in 2022 and they will be able to increase that to 35% in 2023, and continue to improve from there. 

Africa’s tallest mountain standing at 5,896m, Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. The moutain is actually an over 2km wide crater known locally as Kibo.

The expedition's 2-day itinerary includes seven days of trekking on the Machame Trail, a route rich in biodiversity. 

Earth’s Edge also conducts expeditions with female porters and guides in several countries including Peru, Kenya and India.

Incidentally, two Indian women had recently scaled Mt Kilimanjaro - Tahseen Amber in 2019 and Nivetha Thomas in 2021. Thomas was accompanied by Telangana mountaineer Poorna Malavath, her coach Shekhar Babu Bachinepally and 15 crew members.

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