In the late nineties, I was a young woman entering the forest industry in BC—a workforce with very few women. It seemed, at that time, that women in forestry were starting to be recognized.
Forestry was still a man’s world. Typically, I would go out in field camps in the bush, and there would be one woman for every 15 to 20 guys. Unless there were another lady on site, I would often have to share a room with a guy—not always even someone from my crew, sometimes a stranger from another crew. Bathrooms and showers were designed for men and shared use. Often I had to use them at the same time as the men. Sometimes this resulted in very awkward situations – there was just no expectation that there would be a woman on-site and no provision made for our comfort or privacy.
“We have finally entered an era where women in the forestry sector have an equal voice and can be heard above that old mentality that women don’t belong here.”
During this same time, I learned a bunch from some very experienced people who were accepting towards women entering forestry, and I progressed very quickly in my consulting work. Within a couple of years, I managed my own project with a crew made up mostly of men. It was a challenge to gain respect from men who were twice my age. I would often hear things like, “I am not listening to a woman,” or, “You’re just a woman—you don’t know what you’re talking about.” But I stood my ground, and eventually, I gained respect from those same people.
Moving through time, I have seen the gender ratio change. Every year a few more ladies have entered the forestry world. Now, I sit here in my office at Millar Western, and I look around with pride as I see that we have almost an even split between men and women in our Woodlands department.
The AFPA would like to extend a thank you to Cynthia from Millar Western for sharing her story with us.
Currently, railways throughout Alberta face unevenly deployed resources, insufficient seasonal service, and unreliable capacity that fails to adequately serve several industries across the province. The Alliance is bringing forward priority areas it hopes to get addressed, including mandating rail companies release data on car fulfilment statistics and developing a strategy to manage service levels during the winter months.
AFPA is a non-profit association that represents Alberta’s forest industry. We support our members in reaching new heights of sustainability, safety, efficiency and innovation, and we give Albertans opportunities to learn about our forests and the forest industry.
Work Wild is here to help people who are looking for a career they’ll love – whether you’re a high school student evaluating career options for the first time, or looking to make a change in your career.
If you’d like more information about employment opportunities in the forest industry, you can find job profiles, current job postings, scholarships and more here.