These women are leading hikers along the Inca Trail for the first time ever. Until now, women weren’t seen as strong enough to be porters.
Porters lead and carry tourists’ gear, packs with food, and equipment often weighing more than 30 pounds. Evolution Treks Peru is the first company in its region to hire women for the job.
“Nobody wants to hire them because the belief is that they’re weak that they can’t do those things, that their role is to be in the kitchen and at home taking care of the children,” explained Evolution Treks Peru co-founder Miguel Gongora.
But these women porters are anything by weak, carrying gear 26 miles on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. There are now nearly 30 women porters registered to work on the trail, crossing a region called “The Dead Woman’s Path,” since many thought no woman could survive the trek.
“At the beginning, by doing this I feel proud,” stated one of the porters Lucia Vela. “I feel stronger and I also think that I can accomplish so many other things.”
In Peru approximately 60% of women experience domestic violence. Researchers say women gaining financial independence could help decrease instances of domestic abuse.