The Women’s Forest Congress is a forum to develop strategies and solutions for forests through a female lens. Women throughout the forest space have come together to share personal and professional experiences, connect with other women in the sector, shape the latest innovations, and consider how actions informed by the female perspective can make a profound impact on the future of forests.
The Inaugural Women’s Forest Congress will take place October 17-20, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more here. Until then, there are many opportunities to engage today, including topical working groups and virtual conversations. The Steering Committee wants your perspective, ideas, and guidance to ensure the Congress is a success.
HISTORY OF THE FOREST CONGRESS
Global and domestic forestry Congresses have a long and storied history. The first American Forest Congress was held in 1882. Subsequent American Forest Congresses have been held periodically to tackle the issues of the day, including the establishment of the U.S. Forest Service and major legislation like the National Forest Management Act. Additionally, since 1926, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has hosted the World Forestry Congress every 6 years, focused largely on knowledge sharing of the latest science and practice of forestry.
The Women’s Forest Congress builds on this rich history, but takes a different approach – one focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion and bringing the voice of women to shape the future of our forests.
WHY WE NEED THE WOMEN’S FOREST CONGRESS
Forests play an intrinsic role in our lives. Forest products touch us at all stages of life and are increasingly emphasized as a central tenet of a responsible, sustainable future. Forestry is essential to us all, and yet the sector has less than 20% participation by women, and even less by people of color. Whether involved through land ownership, industry, conservation, public agency, or other roles, women in the forest sector are consistently and significantly underrepresented. This discrepancy is even more significant for women of color.
HOW THE WOMEN’S FOREST CONGRESS BEGAN
The idea for the Women’s Forest Congress germinated among women within the sector who believe the lack of female perspective is leaving a void in the sector, limiting professional participation by more women, and limiting opportunities to think about forests in new ways. Additionally, addressing the gender diversity gap creates room for innovative problem solving to combat the most pressing challenges of the forest sector and the forest to which we are all connected. Therefore, there is need for a forum developed by women, for women.
The Steering Committee is made up of a diverse group of strong, forward-looking women who provide insight, leadership, and lend their collective experience and expertise to ensure the first Women’s Forest Congress is a resounding success.
You are invited to be a part of the future of forests. From this moment forward, we intend to provide all women a space to be heard, to listen, and to act for the benefit of forests.
There is a need – arguably today more than ever – for more diverse perspectives to help ensure the health and future of forests. The Women’s Forest Congress is an open and inclusive group – trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming participants are welcome, as are women and allies of all ages, perspectives, cultural backgrounds, professional levels, abilities, and education.