Since July 1, 2020, the Styrian organizations nowa from Graz, the Forestry Training Center Pichl and the Styrian Forest Association have been working together in the international Fem4Forest project - Forest in Women's Hands.
After the report on the current situation of women in forestry has been drawn up, a campaign to raise awareness is currently starting, followed by training programs and awareness-raising workshops.
Loss of great potential
If women are not taken into account at organizational and personnel level in forestry, the sector loses enormous potential. This has an impact on competitiveness and innovative strength and is also important with regard to the use of resources. Particularly in rural areas with their demographic development and the problem of labor migration, the non-inclusion of women leads to critical developments. The integration of women in companies and institutions in new fields of work opens up opportunities for them. Worldwide experience in forestry proves the advantages of mixed-gender teams, especially in traditionally male-dominated occupational fields. The benefits range from different problem-solving strategies, different perspectives to an improvement in the work environment.
Lack of gender equality
Women face systemic barriers, from patriarchal social norms, gender stereotypes and prejudices to discriminatory laws and practices that prevent their access to appropriate positions and therefore exclude them from decision-making processes. Women who work in male-dominated professional worlds, as represented by forestry, are faced with a variety of challenges:
- Discrimination through stereotypes
- Expectations and beliefs about a woman's role in society
- Lack of support through mentoring and a lack of development opportunities for women in order to be able to pursue careers
These challenges are the reason why this campaign was developed in the project. Findings and sensitization regarding the possibilities for women should be disseminated and structures and approaches in forestry presented to the target groups. It is important that key actors in the forestry processes work towards the implementation of gender equality.
Create conscious engagement
The awareness campaign of the Fem4Forest project aims to inform, sensitize and motivate companies, organizations and relevant actors to accept women as actors with equal rights in forestry. The model of the awareness campaign will take into account the findings from the project results developed so far and identify weaknesses and opportunities with regard to gender equality in forestry. As an integral part, the campaign also supports the implementation of the training and mentoring program. In the project, the campaign works closely with the communication work package in order to be able to convey this particular challenge to the general public.
Text and image rights: Maximilian Handlos
DTP3-500-1.2 Fem4Forest, Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)