Toronto, Canada, 06 March 2021 (Lusa) – Ema Dantas will try to be the first Portuguese woman to climb the seven highest peaks in the world, an adventure that began in 2017 and ends between April and May this year in Everest, 8,848 meters above sea level.
In an interview with Lusa, the Portuguese-Canadian wants to make this personal project a way to fight for gender equality, showing that self-determination “can be the solution” to reduce inequality, “in a society where machismo continues to persist”.
“If a 53-year-old woman, a grandmother, five feet tall, Portuguese and afraid of heights, can climb to Everest, we women can do everything,” said the businesswoman to Lusa, just days away from celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March).
In Canada since she was four years old, born in the municipality of Miranda do Douro (district of Bragança), Ema Dantas believes that “if women support each other more”, it is possible to “overcome all barriers”.
The “trend of machismo” persists, not only in the Portuguese community, but in all sectors of other societies, not least because some men still treat women as if they were “their properties”, she acknowledged.
“I have always considered that women can do the same as men. We women, for example, have children, which men cannot have. But unfortunately, even going up to Everest, I think we are in an era where men are dominant, not just at work. Even in mountaineering, women are not seen at the same level”, she lamented.
The Portuguese-Canadian will travel to Nepal, on April 4, with the goal of reaching the top of Mount Everest. If she succeeds, she will be the first person of Portuguese nationality to reach the Sete Cumes in both versions; Richard Bass and Reinhold Messner.
Of the team, which is going to travel to Asia, only three of the ten elements are women. The seven highest mountains on each continent, which turn out to be eight, as Messner’s version, considered by many climbers to be the most legitimate, exchanges the Kosciuszko peak (2,228m) in Australia included in the Bass list, by the Carztensz Pyramid, in Indonesia, with 4,484m.
“After completing this adventure, I want to support more women and encourage them, at least in the Portuguese community here in Canada, to teach them how to climb a small mountain, for example, because it is one step at a time”, she promised.
For the past three and a half years, the Carstenz Pyramid (Indonesia, 4,884m), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 5,895m), Elbrus (Russia, 5,642m), Mount Vinson Massif (Antarctica, 4,892m) have been reached ), Anconcagua (Argentina, 6,961m), Denali (United States, 6,190) and the Kosciuzkzo peak (Australia, 2,228m).
Financed through the private sector on various expeditions, including the 67 thousand US dollars (55.4 thousand euros) needed for the trip to Nepal, on the journey to Mount Everest.
The businesswoman and translator intends to raise 700 thousand Canadian dollars (459 thousand euros) funds for the Addiction and Mental Health Center – CAMH in Toronto and raise public awareness to reduce the stigma of mental health.
In 2017, Ema Dantas created the foundation Peaks for Change, a non-profit institution on mental health, since then climbing the highest points in the world to raise funds.
“I made this commitment to go up to the seven summits of the world (8) to raise funds for CAMH, so I have to comply. At the same time, I learned to appreciate that mountains heal and are good for mental health”, she confessed.
After the containment restrictions due to the pandemic ‘canceled’ the Everest expedition in 2020, Ema Dantas has been training for an average of four hours a day for what she considers to be her “last chance to climb to the highest summit in the world” for two years. .
Only two Portuguese managed to reach the highest summits in the world, the mountaineer João Garcia (1999) and the pilot and climber Ângelo Felgueiras (2010). Maria da Conceição, in 2013, was the first Portuguese to climb Everest.