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Listening to Women's Voices in the Australian Forestry Workforce

CollectionsANU Fenner School of Environment & Society
Title: Listening to Women's Voices in the Australian Forestry Workforce
Author(s): Buchy, Marlene
Date published: 2001
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Forestry, The Australian National Unniversity
Citation: Buchy, M. (2001). Listening to Women's Voices in the Australian Forestry Workforce: you learn to cope and get on with things. ANU Forestry Occasional Paper 1:2001/ ISSN: 1441-0028.
Series/Report no.: Occasional Paper (ANU Forestry): No. 1/2001
Forestry is one of the last bastions of male dominance in the professions; despite the fact that women have graduated from the two Australian Forestry schools since the 1970s only a handful of women have been working for a State forest agency for more than 15 years. Women on average tend to leave the profession after 5 years or so (Crompton 2000); this is a concern for organisations which, despite equal employment opportunity policies fail to retain a gender diversity in their workforce. Quote 1 suggests that women who leave the profession don't necessarily leave the workforce, but just leave forestry. This study started on the assumption that if female foresters tended to leave the profession, it was because they did not feel comfortable in their workplace and more specifically that the gender differences and the relationships between the genders may be at the root of the problem. Being a traditionally exclusive male territory, could it be culturally and structurally difficult for one gender to make place for the other and a new organisational culture to emerge from the diversity? Numerous scholars have argued that there is no such thing as "gender neutral" organisations and that historically organisations having been set up by men were fundamentally women-unfriendly places to work in (Aker 1990, Burton 1991, Cockburn 1991, Witz 1992). Based on women's perceptions of their workplace, professional practice and aspirations this study attempts to list and understand the diversity of issues faced by female foresters. Although no doubt some of those issues will be shared by their male colleagues, this paper aims at taking stock of gender related issues in the forestry profession.
ISSN: 1441-0028


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