In the high mountains of northern India, Ladakhi women work as equals with men to maintain the roads.
Every morning, a truck picks up the workers of the Border Road Organisation and drops them off at altitudes of over 5500 meters. With shovel in hand and a cloth bag for a wheelbarrow, men and women dig the mountain, clear the road of fallen rocks and fill in the ruts. At this altitude, where oxygen is scarce, breathing is difficult and every effort is painful.
In winter, when temperatures drop to nearly minus 30 degrees, the road that connects Shimla in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh closes, almost completely isolating the region, which then becomes accessible only by air. Yet these women continue to work on the snow removal of the roads, with no more protection than a thin coat.
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