HikeLike A Girl
Why Empowering Women is so important to Alpaca Expeditions...
Tourism has been Cusco’s largest industry for years, especially now that Machu Picchu keeps growing in popularity. Most of us that live in this city touch tourism in some capacity – men and women. Women have always been present in the office helping to sell tours, answer emails, work in accounting. Even our lawyer is a women. But they always stayed off the mountains.
I think many men assumed that women just were not interested in guiding or hiking. After we finally put our first ad out looking for female guides we learned this was not at all the case. Women did not feel welcome in this community and at Alpaca Expeditions we are working hard to change this. We always say we are a company with a social conscious but had 100% of our tours led and staffed by men. Last year we were so lucky to change this with our first few female guides who did all tours – Inca Trail, Alternative Treks and Day tours.
We started with 3 female guides last year and now we are up to 5. And in 2018 we hired our first group of women porters who have proven to be as strong, hard working and charming as the men we have on our team. And they beam with pride when they set up the camp each night.
All of us at Alapca Expeditions grew up in villages outside of Cusco working on farms, never imagining that we would one day interact with foreigners from all over the world. Tourism is a beautiful industry that literally removes walls and binds us together working as one to discover the history of the land we are visiting. It is so important that this industry be inclusive and continue to help all villagers realize how small and beautiful our world is.
Today at Alpaca Expeditions we have 6 female guides and 6 female porters. We hope to add to this every year - hopefully double it each year.
PAMELA RIVAS IBARRA
JUANA TTITO TTITO
MARIA ANTONIETA MESICANO
NELIDA VILCA HUAMAN
SILVANA LO GA
ESTEFANI SANTA CRUZ
How to create a comfortable working place for women?
We understand the importance of extra safety measures to make sure our female guides and porters are comfortable at all times. Sexual harassment is real in all industries, but with women and men sleeping so close together, we needed to be clear on proper behavior. We decided to hire an outside coach to review with everyone on our team the Do's and Don'ts. He helped to reinforce the rules we have at Alpaca Expeditions, like no drinking on the job (this leads to poor choices), no touching, careful language, be respectful to everyone. And a reminder that we are a team and we need to stick up for each other and ourselves. Speak up if someone makes you uncomfortable...let management know. Take care of your fellow employee as they are your little brother or sister. Make sure that nobody else is bothering them - from other companies or even clients.