By: Jasmine Brown
When I first learned about the Women’s Forest Congress, I had flashbacks of all the times I felt out of place in my forestry career.
All the times I was the only woman in my forestry classes,
the only woman on a timber marking crew,
I thought back to all the comments that people would make once they met me, a Black Woman in forestry:
“You? A forester? No way…”
“Jasmine, you’re too short, aren’t you?”
“You’re not rugged enough.”
“You’re a city girl, what do you know about forests?”
“You don’t look like the typical forester that I know.”
“I’ve never met a Black person in the woods before.”
These sort of friendly, well-intentioned comments always caught me off guard. Each comment was a ticking time bomb that helped sow seeds of doubt. Did I choose the right profession? Am I doing the right thing? Did my passion lead me in the wrong direction?
Will I ever be invited into the boys club?
I was, and still am, constantly reminded of how rare it is to see women (and women of color) in forestry. Its 2020, and why is this the case? What will it take for the demographics of the forest sector to look drastically different? When will seeing women and women of color in forestry be normal, or standard, instead of “non-traditional” and atypical?
The Women’s Forest Congress is a step in the right direction. The time is now.
Why support the Women’s Forest Congress, you ask?
- Because some Women in Forestry just isn’t enough
- Because this isn’t your average conference panel or fireside chat about increasing the number of women in forestry. Granted, those panels are great… to an extent, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve attended way too many. Each one begins and ends the same way.
- This congress is intentionally focused on creating a space for women in the forest sector to be heard, to feel included, and to share our experiences.
- Most importantly, this congress is focused on tangible, practical actions to voice the concerns of women in forestry.
Which is exactly why I am honored to support the Women’s Forest Congress, and you should too!