International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Jude Fernando

Second Reader

Cynthia Enloe


While high poverty rates persist for women in Tanzania, the growing trekking tourism industry surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro and its resulting demand for labor presents these impoverished women with a potential avenue for economic empowerment. This paper examines the national and local realities of women’s work in Tanzania, analyzing culturally informed gendered patterns of employment against the colonial and sexist histories of tourism and commercial mountaineering on Mount Kilimanjaro to identify barriers to women’s economic participation in Kilimanjaro’s trekking tourism industry. This analysis is followed by a cross-cultural comparison with Nepal, focusing specifically on women’s barriers to participation in commercial mountaineering, and a preexisting model for women’s integration into the mountain guiding profession. Created by Three Sisters’ Adventure Trekking, a private sector trekking tourism company, this Nepalese model provides a basis upon which a preliminary international development project design aimed at integrating impoverished women into Mount Kilimanjaro’s trek guiding industry is discussed.



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