By: Katie Fernholz

I am part of the Women’s Forest Congress because I believe the time is now to come together and make things the way they need to be. Exciting things are happening in the forest sector, and more women need to be a part of informing these innovations and actions that will impact us now and for generations to come. The leadership of women in forestry has been growing, and the awareness of the benefits of a female perspective has been growing as well. However, this growth has been slow and inconsistent. It has felt like one step forward, two steps back. We still focus on too many “firsts” (i.e., the first woman to…) rather than achieving conditions where diversity and inclusion are interwoven and high functioning. These shortcomings are especially apparent within forest sector leadership and high-level decision making. I think we can do better, and to do better, we must come together to share our best ideas, questions, and visions. I believe the wind is at our backs, and the sense of urgency and opportunity in the forest sector is ready for bigger and better things to happen. We need to step up, lean in, and elevate women as leaders in forestry together. We need the Women’s Forest Congress. My hope is that the result will be a shared vision of what actions are needed to advance women leaders in forestry and that we will have built a community that can implement that vision.

Join us. The time is now to come together – for ourselves, for each other, for the forest – to see what women in the forest sector are capable of and then to commit ourselves to make change happen.