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!