Kanchhi Maya Tamang summits MT Everest for gender equality in sports and empowerment of women migrant workers
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Kathmandu, Nepal – Kanchhi Maya Tamang and her team, led by Everest record holder Pemba Dorje Sherpa, reached the 29,035-feet (8848 metres) summit of the world's highest peak Saturday morning in her quest to seek new possibilities for women's empowerment.
"My win is a win for all women and girls. And my mission is to contribute to a discrimination-free Nepal where all girls and women have freedom and an enabling environment to realize their full human potential," Kanchhi Maya radioed from Mount Everest Base camp.
Shortly before she summited Everest, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka announced in a tweet message," Thank you, Kanchhi Maya, for taking UN Women on your quest to Mt. Everest! You're an inspiration to Nepal and the world."
At 6:00 a.m. Nepal local time, after an 11-hour climb from Camp 4 on Everest's South Col route, Kanchhi Maya, 28, from Sindupalchowk district, together with Pemba Dorje Sherpa, the fastest record climber to Everest from Dolakha district, and their Sherpa teammates reached the summit. It was for the first time that someone climbed the Everest for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.
"For many Nepali women and girls, there is an invisible Everest between their homes and the sports field. I have climbed Everest to empower women who are climbing their own mountains," Kanchhi said to well-wishers on her arrival at the Kathmandu airport, reiterating her stance that there should be enough motivation from the family and community, and support from dads, brothers and husbands to involve more women and girls into mountaineering and adventure sports.
"Saturday was indeed a special day for all women as well as men, because it was the first time that someone climbed Everest for gender equality and women's empowerment," said UN Women Representative in Nepal, Wenny Kusuma. "Kanchhi Maya, you have faced challenges during your climb to the top of the Everest, and we are with you as you try to find ways to advance women's empowerment and gender equality," she added.
Kanchhi Maya, herself a returnee migrant worker took with her a powerful message to the top of the world, stating 'We are People, not Property'. Every year, several thousand Nepali women and girls are trafficked and forced to work in dire circumstances. The latest national report on trafficking in persons released by national Human Rights Commission 2014-15 states that a total of 9,000 to 9,500 persons were attempted to traffic, and 8,000 to 8,500 were trafficked in each of the FYs 2013/14 and 2014/15.
"My mission has first and foremost been to stop forced migration of women and girls from my district, which is listed as the top district for trafficking of women and girls in Nepal. I want to foster initiatives that create local employment opportunities and empower women, both those facing forced migration and returnees like myself. We must empower girls—give them a rope, show them a rock, then ask them to climb it."
Dr. Ganesh Gurung, member of UN Women Nepal Civil Society Advisory Group, who supported Kanchhi Maya's mission, remarked: "Kanchhi Maya has proven to the world and to Nepali society that women possess the capacity to reach any heights. She is a trendsetter who aspires to scale new heights, to challenge discriminatory social norms and step it up for Planet 50:50 by 2030."
About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women’s rights worldwide. UN Women’s efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.
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