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All-Female Team from Middle East To Conquer Everest and Smash Gender Stereotypes

A group of Jordanians will attempt to raise the achievements made by Arab women to new heights by being the first all-female group of Middle-Eastern women to scale Mount Everest.

The climb, which is set for April 2018, will be the first time a Jordanian woman will have reached the summit of the eponymous mountain and only the third time an Arab woman has succeeded to its peak.

The group of five women is called Rise, a testament to the message of women’s empowerment they hope to send with their climb.

Rise is the brainchild of the renowned Jordanian mountaineer, Mostafa Salameh - one of only 12 climbers to have ascended the seven highest summits in the world as well as the North and South poles.

After climbing mount Everest in 2008, Salameh decided that he would only do so again with a Jordanian woman by his side.

“Ever since I summited Everest in 2008, I’ve been asked by many whether I intend to do it again, to which I have always replied: ‘the next time I attempt to summit Mount Everest, it’ll be to take the first Jordanian woman with me to the top,” he told the Jordanian Times. “Today, I’m honored to announce that I’ll be leading not one, but five Jordanian women to the summit.”

Triggered by a dream of Rise team member Iman Al Majali on the summit, Salameh was inspired to put his plan into action.

“It was a vivid dream of myself reciting the call to prayer from the world’s highest peak that led me to summit Everest the first time. So, when I had a dream of Iman on the Everest summit, I knew it was a sign,” he said. “Yet, the idea had been on my mind long before that; the dream was just a trigger.”

The women of Rise are Farah AbuBaker, Abeer Seikaly, Israa Abu-Soufeh, Maria Halaseh, and Iman Al-Majali - all of whom are taking on this challenge for their own hopes and goals. Halaseh is a 52-year-old doctor and grandmother looking to make her grandchildren proud while Abu-Soufeh wants to be the first veiled woman to climb Mount Everest.

All of the Rise team hope that their journey will defy stereotypes about Arab women and inspire them to pursue their goals.

“We seek to inspire people in our region to defy stereotypes and rise with their communities in pursuit of their dreams, irrespective of their gender, age and faith.”

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