We’ve written about these most charismatic of animals on this site before, as well as the typical scenario of those charged with their care in this part of the world, but this new “gender barrier” shift is too noteworthy to pass over.
The Nepalese government’s recent program to get more women into public sector jobs has extended even into the most masculine of bastions, the mahout. The traditional practice has been for a boy to be introduced to “his” elephant in childhood and they grow up together. But this conservative, primarily Hindu country is making an official effort to give women a literal leg up.
Meena Chaudhary was chosen from among numerous female candidates to be the first of hopefully many female mahouts to lead elephant safaris in Nepal’s Chitwan national park. Part of her training included climbing trees and swimming, further examples of breaking molds.
“Women are flying aircraft. So, driving an elephant is peanuts,” she said. “I wanted to prove that we’re equal to men. I showed it by being an elephant driver.”
Chaudhary has already led up to 6 safaris a day since she completed her training 2 months ago, and despite any initial nervousness she is proud of her work and its representation of Nepalese women.
(Click the image to go to the source…)