Woman in forestry response

Mike Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Sun Aug 23 14:41:39 EST 1998


Interesting responses on a primarily Forest Service issue.  It's not
easy to be calm about it if you've been on the short end of those
hires.  You can let it bug you or you can move along. And its easy to be
of two minds.

Many AA female vs male hires went something like this: local white male
candidate, Forest Tech degree, many years of temp (the old long seasons)
experience vs female recent four year or better forestry grad and one
season. Possibly an internship. By the rules, she got the career track
job. What could the guy do?  Wait until one of those "advertised in the
closet" positions come along, go back to school, get used to being in
debt and get a few degrees himself? Dump forestry altogether? Many did.
Reincarnate as an 'ologist? Ideally, tell the FS to piss off and come
back as a consultant, with the papers AND the experience?  
 
I've worked with many female foresters and biologists. They were not
"just like the guys" although a few tried real hard. Some had less field
experience but better computer skills. Some were very scientifically
focused. One was a bit short and had trouble getting over the logs but
was a whiz at appraisals. A few were scared of fire or aerial spray.
That may indicate inteligence. Some felt unfairly held up to a level of
professionalism some of the males weren't. And many had mentors, which
none of the males did.  Most were very good at networking.

I've also worked with MANY chicano/latino techs, especially in
California. Top notch guys! Mostly in suppression and then specialized
fire overhead, but also, mostly gone after a certain age. Firefighting
favors the under thirty. Physically handicapped? Very few. Blacks? Only
one. But years back I did know a black rigging slinger and in this lily
white woods, he was the toughest, quietest guy you'd ever meet.


Vince wrote:
> 
> Joseph Zorzin wrote:
> >
> > (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
> > fair.
> 
> Ok I've got some statistics for you in Quebec Canada, I dont know if
> this will interest you readers but here it goes.  On 1 988 registered
> forest engineers in Quebec (we've got a right to practice here) exacly
> 9,6% are womens.  Regarding the law, when we talk about "Equity in
> employment" if a woment and a men have the same experience and ability
> the women is going to get the job (it's the law). So if the man call the
> employer to ask him why he didn't get the job, the legal response is
> "beacose you're a man".  Thats ok I guess.  I am a young graduate, I've
> work with womens and I dont see any difference I even like it more.
> Those kind of political attitude regress women in forestry.  I am not
> responsable for suppression of woment in the past, dont make me pay
> please. (sorry fo mistakes i am french)



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