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Women In Arboriculture Forum A professional forum for those working (or interested in) in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry to discuss career related issues
Women In Arboriculture Forum > Women In Arboriculture Forum > Will more women in Arb be beneficial, or should we just leave it to the guys? View modes: 
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Jacqui Waring - 25/02/2019 09:36:09
   
Will more women in Arb be beneficial, or should we just leave it to the guys?
The low percentage of women in arboriculture should be a cause for concern. But how has it come about? Does arb have an 'image' problem? Are women more interested in looking after the green environment then they are in the plant and machinery of tree work? I believe an increase in female influence in arboriculture could change a lot of things for the better - your thoughts?

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Russell - 25/02/2019 12:43:01
   
RE:Will more women in Arb be beneficial, or should we just leave it to the guys?
I think the issue is wider than just this, its about a lack of young people entering the profession, rather than being a male/female ratios issue.  The sector is still misunderstood, most new entrants I meet have gone against advice from academic advisors (if they were lucky to find one), parental advice and also advice from their classmates.  Its fair to say the sector is still seen as low paid, you dont need a good academic skill set and outdoors so cold, wet and dirty.  As a sector we need to change this perception, Engineering was in a similar place 20 years ago but they have changed their marketing and now all parents are proud if their children are training to be engineers, so it can be done.  The women in Arb campaign is a great idea to showcase different parts of the profession and I think will encourage more women into the sector, but if it also encourages more young men, it should also still be seen as a success.

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Alice McAuley - 26/02/2019 15:40:47
   
RE:Will more women in Arb be beneficial, or should we just leave it to the guys?

I agree, there is a wider issue with young people in general coming into the industry but also regarding people’s perception of the different types of roles available. Within our consultancy we have women who have worked as Arboricultural Consultants (although far more men), GIS/ AutoCAD Technicians, Project managers, Software developers and Directors. I do think it’s the historical route into the industry (tool based) which may not have made it obvious everything it has to offer. I echo your thoughts in regard to the fact that more people in general would be a great thing but as an employer I would like to see more women coming to interview like we do in ecology or landscape.


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Rhonda.wood@disney.com - 27/02/2019 01:26:34
   
RE:Will more women in Arb be beneficial, or should we just leave it to the guys?
The short answer is YES! It’s beneficial. Here’s why... As the Urban Forester of a resort I have been fortunate to have had many women on my team of Tree Inspectors that include both men and women, as well as a culturally diverse team. I can’t say enough about how beneficial  this diversity has been. There are a lot of special disciplines to managing a forest and I find the more balanced the team is, the better we are at handling all the issues that come up. There are inherent traits by gender that are extremely favorable to what we do.

The rarity of course has always been female climbers. You can certainly be in the Arboriculture industry and not climb, but for me it appeared to be the only way at the time to work with trees. I came into Horticulture as a gardener and then up through the arboriculture field as a Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist working first as a pruner. I had to prove myself through both education and field work before getting a spot on the pruning team. It was not easy because I had to seek out many mentors to teach me the ropes outside of work. It takes a lot of dedication to mentor someone, so finding those with the time, took persistence. I was very lucky to have great mentors who gave me this opportunity and they were all men. 

The best thing I ever did as a female in this industry was involve myself in the professional organizations that included competing as a climber at my chapter TCC as the first woman and then on to International; as well as becoming my Chapter WIA Committee Chair and on to the Board; and then eventually teaching women’s tree climbing workshops. It was here I really grew as a professional in all aspects of what we do in the industry. I can’t imagine not being a climber/pruner as it has really been helpful in my full understanding of how trees should be managed for risk, maintenance, planning etc. I would say this skill set is beneficial regardless of gender, however, there are many roads in our field to get where you want to go. 

My advice is this... If you are a manager looking to grow your team, seek diversity! It’s not easy to change culture over night, but it’s worth it to truly grow and improve your business... If you are a female interested in this field, don’t let a road block or two get in your way. Find professionals who seek to give back by mentoring a new Arborist into our world. Don’t forget to pay it forward when you can mentor someone else... If you are a guy on a team that doesn’t have any women and worry about what this change will do to the crew, production etc, look to the future of what such a dynamic would be. Think of all the other aspects in life where a diverse team brings different skill sets to the table that improve the quality of what is done. Be the change!