Week #4: Women on a Mission

Sometimes necessity breeds adventure. This week I have three stories of women who are risking it all for a bigger purpose.

The Nepali Women Who Deliver Birth Control by Hiking

Run-Through:

Atul Bhattarai writes for Outside Magazine about the women in the Baitadi region of Nepal whose job it is to bring contraceptives to people in remote villages. Bhattarai follows two women, Kabita Bhandari and Kalawati Chaudhary, who work for Marie Stopes International, an organization working to provide birth control to people across the world. Bhandari and Chaudhary are just two of the many women who hike around 9 hours a day to deliver birth control across Nepal. Bhandari and Chaudhary have survived near starvation, wild bull attacks, and falls off of steep cliffs, yet they just keep hiking. They carry giant packs on their backs filled with the supplies they will use to administer IUDs and other contraceptives in the villages. Bhandari performs most of the procedures, but also trains local clinic workers to do the same. The women also work to educate the local people about birth control and dismiss any rumors that have been spread about it. At times, ignorance and dated myths will cause them to not have shelter for the night. For instance, if they are menstruating, people will often turn them away because of the deeply rooted idea that menstruators are “impure.”

On Review:

Age is No Obstacle to Japan’s Ama Free-Diving Fisherwomen 

Run-Through:

This article from the Japan Times tells the story of the Japanese ama. Ama, which means women of the sea, is the name for the group of women who free-dive for a living. The women dive for shells, pearls, or fish without a tank or any other scuba gear. Other than a wetsuit, they have a divers flag to signal their location and a net to collect shells The ama have been diving for more than 3,000 years, but now only 2,000 or so ama are left, spread out across Japan. The remaining divers are all between 60 and 80 years old, and thus could be the last generation of ama. In earlier years, the ama were responsible for feeding their families solely from fish caught free diving. Ama tradition has been passed down through family, but now because many young people are leaving small seaside towns in Japan for cities, there is no new generation of ama. The remaining ama are coming to understand that because ama are barely paid, and the activity is so dangerous, they may have to begin inviting people outside of the ama lineage to join them, if they wish to continue the tradition. For now, these older women will continue to defy age and dive deep down, “I really feel like I am a mermaid among the fish, it’s a fantastic sensation” said Hideko Koguchi. 

On Review:

  • There was no byline for this story

  • It should be noted that this article was written in 2018, so some information may have changed. 

  • This was one of very few articles written about ama, so they are not a heavily represented group.

These Women Followed Salmon Migration On Horseback

Run-Through:

Outside Magazine reported on three women, Kat Cannell, MJ Wright, and Katelyn Spradley, who rode across the Pacific Northwest following the migration of wild salmon. Their purpose was to raise awareness for the disappearance of wild salmon. Their movement was called Ride for Redd, after the noun meaning a place where salmon live. The women dealt with losing their horses for several hours, avoiding cars and trucks, and even riding through cities, such as Portland. After a 900 mile ride, they made it to their destination, Redfish Lake, on June 9th.

On Review:

  • There was also no byline for this story which is unusual for Outside

Thanks for reading this week's edition of Outdoors for All! See you next Sunday!