"’We went door-to-door looking for women. We told them just to give it a try, but their families resisted; they were very afraid. We could only convince 10 women,’ Chetri said. In the dining room of their restaurant, they learned about first aid, avalanche warnings, acute mountain sickness, tourism, trekking and women's empowerment. ‘We were laughed at by
almost everyone. We had no idea if we were even doing the right thing by closing the restaurant.’
The challenges ranged from a taboo on women wearing trousers to a deeply entrenched resistance toward wives earning money, from doubts about women's strength and mental acuity to a cultural belief that women are bad luck on the mountain. Few women in Nepal have jobs outside of agriculture, harvesting rice and wheat, earning about US$3 a day, Chetri said.
Today, the Three Sisters trekking agency trains about 50 women a year and leads hundreds of foreign trekkers - independent tourists from Europe, the United States, Japan and India - over the Annapurna mountain range. In fact, depending upon the level of difficulty and time available they have specially-designed treks called Tea House Treks to lower reaches on the mountain.