Empowering women AB Expeditions – A commitment to improving gender equality in our Trek to Machu Picchu
By empowering women, our commitment is to advance an alternative, inclusive model for sustainable tourism activities in our region and to ensure effective gender equality as well. Women need opportunity and they can do everything. That being the case, in an attempt for the benefit of our remote highland Peruvian women the founders of our company took an action plan to help deliver equal opportunities for the participation of women as women guide, women cook and women porters on the Inca trail and the Alternatives trek to Machu Picchu.
Traditionally, portering, guiding and cooking on the Inca trail and Alternatives treks to Machu Picchu was only a men’s job, but in recent decades, as Peruvian women saw greater equality in education and the workplace, they saw that they also can do this job. Before that, the demanding lifestyle of the Andean pastoral villagers necessitated hard work and the assumption of responsibilities by all household members, and women often had heavier loads of tasks. They not only had domestic duties but also assisted in looking after animals after sending children to their schools, shearing wool, milking cows, producing dairy products, tasks such as feeding the guinea pigs, and so forth. It seems that historically highland women were that hardworking and multitask so of course they can do work as guides, cooks and porters too.
Promoting women’s opportunity, gender equality, and empowerment of women in Treks to Machu Picchu; the purpose of all is that we have to break down those barriers, those social norms that hinder women’s participation in diverse jobs. Equally, helping women this time have the skills and knowledge they need to get outside and work with confidence as it should be. Creating meaningful and lasting changes are part of our challenge.
Recently, the Peruvian government launched a new regulation for all porters in which it says that men are allowed to carry the porter´s big bags up to 20 kilos (44 pounds), and 15 kilos (33 pounds) are allowed for all women porters. Now, if we look at the complex society that we live in, everyone has their own necessity; Men and women, singles, students, single mothers, and elderly people. Believe it or not, portering on the Inca trail is sometimes the quick alternative for making some income for the near future family budgets. We open the door for women as well, as few other companies in our region are employing them which is great.
Opening the Door to Women in our Industry
At AB Expeditions, we take the safety and well-being of all our employees, including women guides, cooks, and porters, very seriously. Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem across industries, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and respectful work environment for all. To that end, we have implemented clear guidelines and rules for appropriate behavior, including no alcohol consumption while on the job, no physical contact, using respectful language, and maintaining a professional attitude at all times. We have also hired outside coaches to provide additional training and support for our team members, and we encourage open communication and support among all employees. If anyone experiences or witnesses harassment, we urge them to speak up and report it to management immediately. We are dedicated to empowering all our employees to have a positive and fulfilling work experience.