Nepal is home to the world’s tallest mountain peaks and thus, the most attractive global destination for adventurous sports like trekking and mountaineering.
The country hosts the world’s highest Mount Everest peak, a lifetime aim for mountaineers across the world, irrespective of the gender.
Interestingly, there is a rising trend of women mountaineers climbing the Mt Everest peak and statistics show a remarkable rise in such trend since the past decade, especially in case of Nepal.
According to the Nepali Department of Tourism, around 323 Nepali women have climbed Mt Everest till 2016 since the first Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei made it to the summit in 1975.
23 Nepali women have reached the Mt Everest summit till 2016, including 10 in 2008 alone with seven of them belonging to the Seven Summits Women Team.
Despite the rising trend of the involvement of Nepali women in adventurous activities, only a few are opting mountaineering as a profession, says Maya Sherpa, the second Vice-President of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
“The increasing number of women mountaineers is good. But only a few of them have taken mountaineering as a profession. Many go there just to fulfil their aim,” says Sherpa hoping that the number would increase in future.
According to Sherpa, Nepal currently has three women as mountain guides and a few more are under training.
Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, a female mountain guide, says, “I have seen many women climbing Everest just to fulfil their interest and use it as a tool to migrate to foreign countries,” expressing her satisfaction over the increasing interest for adventurous activities like trekking and mountaineering among Nepali women.
According to NMA, 91 Nepali women took basic and advanced training in mountaineering till 2008.
NMA expects the number to have doubled in recent years following its allocation of six training quotas for women in basic mountaineering training.
Besides, the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management has also offered trekking guide training to around 200 Nepali women.
A new team of five women journalists has also announced their plan to climb Mt Everest in the next spring.
While it was only 63 women in three decades before 2006, the number of women mountaineers who successfully summitted the Mt Everest grew to 260 during 2006-16, indicating a growing interest among women towards mountaineering activity.
2013 saw the highest number (55) of women mountaineer summits to Mt Everest, while it was 44 in 2016 despite a two-year break to the expedition post the 2015 earthquake.