Anna Fleming writes about climbing and mountaineering as a means of self-determination and empowerment for women around the world.
Five brightly coloured skirts and petticoats dance in the wind, the full fabrics lifting and flowing over modern mountaineering boots and crampons. Instead of rucksacks, the climbers wear vibrant woven k'eperinas tied in knots around their chests.
These women's groups in Bolivia, Afghanistan and beyond demonstrate how mountaineering enables girls and women to find new freedoms. Climbing gives us confidence, courage and a vital sense of achievement. For these women, the groups offer unique opportunities to develop new skills, friendships and learn, perhaps for the first time, what it is to have ambitions and work towards goals. With success, the women become role models and inspiring leaders, advancing female empowerment.