Empowering Women hike like a girl

Empowering
Women


Alpaca Expeditions aims to promote gender equality and empower women, hiring first Peru Women as Porters opening the door to equality!

In these days of women’s empowerment around the world, Peru has fallen very short when it came to empowering Peru women. Especially in our villages and poorer areas, Peru women have been traditionally expected to be quiet and obedient. Peru Women are generally less educated, expected to marry young and raise their children. Very sadly Peru women are mistreated every day and do not feel confident enough to speak up or get help.

Alpaca Expeditions is creating ways to empower women by creating opportunities that allow for a voice to Peru women. Peru Women now have a safe place to say, “I want more.” We have opened our doors for Peru women to enter tourism in every and any capacity they feel fit to handle. In 2017 we hired our first female guides. We followed that in 2018 with female porters. Now we have women working in every role: chefs, managers, porters, guides, sales, accounting. We also look closely at how to empower women here, so we support them at home with services for their children while they are working, good salaries to help support their family, and healthcare for them all.

There are many reasons that Peru women want to work for Alpaca Expeditions. Some are single parents, others have always wanted a career sharing their love of the Andes Mountains with visitors from around the world. Some of them come from families where their fathers or brothers work as guides and want to continue the family tradition. Whatever the reason, the women of Alpaca Expeditions are leading the way into a new era in Peru.

Alpaca Expeditions believes strongly in being an equal employer for all people. Peru women have not had the opportunity to have key roles in tourism companies and Alpaca Expeditions is working hard to change this. They are creating an environment that allows women to work successfully in the tourism industry. Alpaca Expeditions has focused on making sure they have help at home when they are working, receive fair salaries and are treated with respect at all times. By listening to them they hope to expand their group of women who are working on the mountain. These Peru women amaze Alpaca every day with their strength, courage and disposition as they are making mountains move with a smile on their face every day. #hikelikeagirl

Empowering Peru Women and Opening the Door to Women in Tourism

We understand the importance of extra safety measures to make sure our Peru Women 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. This is how to empower women and men to have their best experience as co-workers and fellow humans.

Our Peru Women Porters Visit Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu as Tourists

When one starts talking about visiting Machu Picchu, they quickly learn it’s full of history and culture. Machu Picchu is an amazing place to visit, but not always an easy place to get to for all. For most locals, the expense to just get to Machu Picchu is too much for them.

At Alpaca Expeditions, we try to open these amazing ruins up for all our team – inviting them on a weekend vacation as a tourist. For an entire weekend, our employees become clients…and their eyes and hearts open to their own history, seeing their traditions come alive.

Alpaca Expeditions employs at least 350 male porters and about 20 female porters. 150 of our male porters have visited Machu Picchu with us so far. We include everything – logistics, entrance tickets, guides, food and lodging – all paid by the company.

On February 16-17, 2019, Alpaca Expeditions took our first group of female porters on this trip. These women are ground breaking in this male dominated industry and they have led the way for other women to find employment in all jobs of tourism. These women have conquered all of our treks working the Inca Trail, Lares, and Salkantay. This is not an easy job, but they do it with so much pride and happiness – you notice their smiles right away. This is just a small step for us to acknowledge how amazing they are: our super ladies and thank them for being such an inspiration and important part of our team.

Watching these Peru women walk inside Machu Picchu for the first time was incredible. They have a different energy and emotion and it’s very clear how impressed they were immediately. They were not only so overwhelmed by being inside Machu Picchu citadel, they also were so proud for people to see them and ask them about being a female porter.

We first invited Peru women onto our team of porters in January 2018. We assumed it was too hard of a job, only men can do the job. We were so wrong. Of course having female porters introduces new challenges for us as a company. While they are learning this new trade from us, we are learning so much from them and trying to make Alpaca Expeditions a home for them. We hope to grow the number of women in the company and look forward to a day where we are truly 50/50. A few have started training to be a chef and later this year we hope to have a few female trekking chefs in our groups.

We started Alpaca Expeditions not only to do a better job for clients, but even more so for the local people here in Cusco. Our team is as important as our clients. We provide every single one of them with all of their uniform, including jackets and boots, for free. Each gets a down sleeping bag and sleeping pad for treks. All equipment they need is given for free as well as food.

All of our porters – men and women – come from Andean villages where life is more difficult. We go directly to their villages with goods for their families including medical equipment, food, even sports equipment for their children. They are such an important part of our company and we try to show them our gratitude every single day.

As a company, we are so excited that we made their childhood dreams come true to visit the most important place in our history, Machu Picchu.

WHY DOES ALPACA EXPEDITIONS FOCUS ON HELPING PORTERS?

We could not be the company we are today without our porters. It is not possible to offer the level of service we offer without the help of these men and women. They work SO hard, doing every set up, cooking every meal, carrying everything necessary, just to let a foreigner visit their homeland. We don’t think it’s only for visitors – it’s for us. Alpaca Expeditions owner and many of our guides started as porters in this business and know exactly what these individuals give to us to do the job…and what they leave behind at home.

WHY IS EMPOWERING PERU WOMEN SO IMPORTANT TO A.E.?

Peru is still a country where machismo is very strong. We are behind the times it seems in women equality. But perhaps we can be a leader and change this. We already see a few other companies in Cusco adding women to their workforce and hopefully this will expand. Women should be allowed and encouraged to do any job they feel up to doing. Helping their family with more income is something that brings them joy and pride.

HOW MANY FEMALE PORTERS VISITED MACHUPICCHU?

At this time, 15 women with their children. We hope this number keeps growing in the future and that more and more women can do this job and we can make happen anything for them.