Women in Forestry Association
Women in Forestry Association was established in July 2009 and since then is actively supporting women connected with forestry in Poland.
Now we have more than 400 members. Twice per year we organise two days meeting- first day with lectures and second workshops.
Forestry has been perceived as a male profession, however, more and more women are graduating from forestry faculty or schools. It is difficult to find a female forester who never faced a surprised response: ‘but I had an appointment with a forester’. It could be understood if it came from a layman, but it is rather frustrating when we hear that females’ professional worth in forestry is low from our colleagues. The general social change of attitude towards women in the last few years has made this opinion less audible, still it does not mean that the discrimination we experience has vanished.
The number of women in forestry is growing, but the stereotypes take their toll and we still hold positions mainly in offices, as specialists or administration employees. Rarely do women work in the field (in forest) or hold a management post. Even though the share of women in the Polish State Forests staff reached 28%, only one regional director (out of 17) is female and only 10 women manage forest districts (out of 420 that exist). The same tendency could be easily observed in Forest Faculties: there is almost an equal number of female and male PhD candidates, yet females less often become professors, consequently their perspective is underrepresented in the academic environment.
One may say that they do not see themselves in the male world full of power and competition. The only way to change it is to successively, step by step, take action and set new rules that allow everyone to prosper regardless of their sex, nationality or any other characteristic. Our grandmothers sacrificed for us when they were fighting for voting rights, so now we can do something for our daughters and granddaughters who are or are about to start their adventure with forestry.
Our main objectives are:
- Integrating women employed in forestry
- Increasing professional activity of female foresters;
- Creating and promoting female leaders;
- Supporting individual and professional development and education;
- Supporting women in difficult situations: legal, essential or financial ones;
- Promoting good practices and professional ethics;
- Promoting women rights through informational and educational activity;
- Promoting work-life balance;
- Creating opinion-forming environment
Do we need to associate and formalize to achieve this?
YES. After many games and many hours talking to the girls, the idea of such a women’s league began to mature in me. Let’s meet, exchange views, chat (don’t believe the guys don’t do that !!!), let’s help if necessary. There was one problem – without formalization, no one will take us seriously. Let’s write a petition? As who – we, three friends?
The official form of existence gives us more options. We can apply for subsidies (we are an NGO, i.e. a non-governmental organization, and this is a trend!), We can write much more serious magazines, we can cooperate with other organizations.
A few years ago, in a lecture, I heard about trends in modern forestry that it is important to increase the role of women in this field. I was terribly offended by it – how is it, just any old woman? Are we going to take the round-up? As a mouth-watering person, I immediately verbalized my reservations, saying (I still think very diplomatically): I thought that a forester should be a good forester, and gender has nothing to do with it. To which the famous professor replied: yes, but … But today the strength of the company is teamwork. And it has been proven that coeducational teams work more efficiently. And now!
https://www.lasy.gov.pl/pl/informacje/ news / women-always-were-in-woods