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Woman in forestry response

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Sun Aug 23 03:50:01 EST 1998

(posted in bionet.agroforestry and alt.forestry)

Susan112 wrote:
> Joe:
> You never gave us any hard numbers on this, just your impressions,
> name-calling, and condescending tone.  Troll!

I don't have the numbers. The purpose of starting this is an honest
discussion since there is a lot of murmuring amongst the boys about this
subject. As I've mentioned I like AA (afirmative action) and it does
seem like a very high percentage of recent appointments in this state
are women, and I'm only speculating that the percentage is far higher
than the percentage of forestry graduates that are women and if that is
the case then we have a problem. I think it's fine that women are in
forestry, I am no red neck male chauvinist. I happen to be one of the
most "hip" dudes in this business. But fair is fair. When we can find
the numbers, we'll find out just how fair it is.

> Someone else was talking about fancy brochure tea parties and a lot of other
> silliness, fru-fru and plus the name-calling  (the b-word found it's way onto
> one of these threads).  The tie to a liberal agenda is also interesting since
> most women that I know in natural resources are distinctly apolitical and
> adamantly avoid being labeled feminist for fear of being considered a
> "troublemaker".
> I know that AA has screwed good people and helped less qualified so I'm not
> going to try to defend it here. What I would be interested in talking about is
> women in the field and what they've brought to the table (other than slick
> brochures please!).  How many of you have worked with women foresters?  How
> many of you had to adapt to women entering the profession for the first time?
> What were the "pioneers" like vs. 20 years down the line to today?  How did
> they/do they cope in a male dominated field?
> Susan

The complaint I hear a lot in this state is that many are promoted too
early to positions they aren't qualified for. Some are service foresters
without any field experience and one really ought to have field
experience first. A service forester is not an entry level position.
Anyone, man or women should spend a few years doing mud forestry either
as a consultant or on public lands. We consultants also see men service
foresters who are in that position prematurely.

There is one male service forester in this state who is universally
despised for just that reason. I remember that when he started, I walked
with him to review some work he did. It would have been OK if he had
admitted that he didn't know anything but he acted like Napoleon. I
complained to his bosses and got a letter from the DEM liar.... I mean
lawyer threateing me a libel suit!

In my opinion women can do anything in forestry that a man can do
including chain saw work. But prematurely advancing them to meet some AA
policy just gets people very angry if that unqualified person causes
them problems.

So, we need the facts. If any forestry professors or recent grads are
reading this, what percent of recent grads in your forestry school are
women? Then we need to find out what the policies are in state and fed
agencies- then we can draw some conclusions about whether or not it's

So, this is NOT a troll because this issue comes up all the time in the
real world. Many guy foresters would prefer to not have any women in the
business. I do prefer women in the business, fair and square. There are
in fact several women consultants in Mass and I don't know anyone
complaining about them, after all, they HAVE to prove themselves or
starve, just like me. But when we talk about hiring practices in
government, we start at a dubious basis, because it's generally
understood, at least in this state, that hiring has ALWAYS been corrupt
to the core, with the nepotism, cronyism and patronism instead of civil

The odd thing about AA here is that as far as I know there are no blacks
in forestry. The only time I ever saw any blacks in the DEM was when
Dukakis was governor. He was a big proponent of AA, and finally under
him, there were blacks in the state campgrounds- mopping floors in the
comfort stations. As soon as the reactionaries in this state threw out
Dukakis, out went that policy and I haven't seen a black since then-
more than 20 years ago- there might be but not in my county.

So at least in my state, hiring has always been a political football,
instead of a legitimate civil service which ultimately should be blind
to both race and sex and who your uncle is and how much your father
contributed to his favorite politicians.

And, state jobs are such a MASSIVE political football in Mass., and I've
been the biggest critic of it for 25 year having been victimized myself
by the corrupt system, and having sent hundreds of letters and faxes and
email to countless politicians here, and NEVER getting any replies. The
subject is verboten here. I've even suggested to some newspapers that
they should expose the system and they don't reply either. The newspaper
editors probably got their children jobs by doing favors for the
politicians- they aren't going to talk about it.

Notice that I've cc'd this to my state rep, my state senator and my
governor, and how much ya wanna bet NOT 1 WILL HAVE HE GUTS TO COMMENT-
because when you discuss the reality of hiring practices in
Massachusetts the politicians run for the hills.

And finally, if anything is going to really expose the rot of the
system, it's the use of the internet- to put the clowns in a fishbowl
where they can swim around but can't escape- knowing that thousands are
looking at them squirm, including the editors of newspapers, to whom I
will later forward this when I find their email addresses. <G>


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