This small local enterprise challenges gender stereotypes, demonstrating how women can successfully be entrepreneurs in a tourism field traditionally dominated by men.
The Ladakhi Women Travel Company LWTC is a travel agency based in the Himalayan town of Leh, in northern India, owned and operated by Ladakhi women. Local guide Thinlas Chorol founded the LWTC in 2009 to give women in Ladakh the opportunity to participate in the traditionally male-dominated areas of trekking and mountain climbing.
By working as trekking guides, these women are challenging gender stereotypes in Ladakh, where a woman is expected to conform to traditional Ladakhi notions of obedience and discipline. Early days were difficult, but the LWTC has become a confident and well-trained group of female professionals.
The treks are entirely organized by the women of LWTC, acting as guides, porters and cooks as well as providing end-to-end customer service and advice. The company has established a reputation for quality and is building a loyal clientele, in particular among women hikers, for whom the LWTC represents security and the assurance their needs and priorities will be taken into account.