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Portuguese-Canadian woman on mission to climb Seven Summits for gender equality

Ema Dantas is on a mission to become the first Portuguese woman to climb the Seven Summits – the tallest peaks on every continent, Lusa news agency reported on Saturday.

In a bid to bring attention to gender inequality, the 53-year-old woman began the adventure in 2017 and aims to accomplish her goal between April and May this year, according to Lusa.

“If a 53-year-old, Portuguese 1.5 metres tall grandmother, who is afraid of heights, can climb Everest, we women can do anything” the Portuguese-Canadian business woman told Lusa.

Dantas, who was born in Portugal’s Miranda do Douro region in the northern district of Bragança, and has been living in Canada since the age of four, said her aim was to fight for gender equality by showing that self-determination was a solution to gender inequality.

“Misogyny 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 pointed out. “I have always considered that women can do the same as men.”

Dantas plans to travel to Nepal on April 4. If she succeeds in reaching the top of Mount Everest, she will be the first Portuguese woman to conquer the seven summits.

The businesswoman and translator intends to raise 700,000 Canadian dollars (459 thousand euros) for the Addiction and Mental Health Center – CAMH in Toronto to raise public awareness around mental health stigma. 

In 2017, Ema Dantas created the foundation Peaks for Change, a non-profit institution for mental health. Since then she has been on a mission to climb the highest points in the world to raise funds. 

“I made this commitment to go up to the seven summits of the world 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 said.