Forests in Women's Hands - International Conference on Women in Forestry

About the conference

Online from WALDCAMPUS Austria; 12-13 April 2021

At the Forests in Women's Hands online conference from 12-13 April 2021, connecting women in forestry was a central theme. Participants met members of existing women's networks and had the opportunity to exchange best practice examples and discuss relevant activities and initiatives. Additionally, the conference increased the visibility of women and their achievements in the forest sector.

Forest owners, practitioners, decision makers, and academics addressed questions such as: Why and for whom is gender equality important? What enables or prevents gender equality from being achieved in society and organizations? What determines if interventions contribute to achieving goals?

The conference was supported by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, and coordinated by the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) and organising partners: the Austrian Women in Forestry Association (Forstfrauen), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the International Forestry Students' Association (IFSA).

IUFRO at the Forests in Women's Hands Conference

IUFRO actively engaged in conceptualising, organising and implementing the conference. IUFRO staff participated in organisational and communication activities as part of the conference organizing committee. IUFRO contributed knowledge and latest available research to the conference programme and pre-conference activities drawing on expertise from the IUFRO Research Group "Gender and Forestry" and its Working Parties and the IUFRO Task Force "Gender Equality in Forestry". Moreover, a broad participation from IUFRO members around the globe enriched the perspectives and exchange during the event.

The conference proceedings (available here) feature the keynote presentation "(Un)doing gender in and through forestry networks - processes of inclusion and exclusion" by Gun Lidestav, Associate Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden, and outcomes of the World Café sessions (including Gender balance for resilience hosted by Alice Ludvig, and Research - existing knowledge and knowledge gaps hosted by Gun Lidestav), as well as posters from various women's networks and initiatives presented during the information market.

All Plenary session were recorded and are available via this link.

Webinar Series

IFSA, with the support of the IUFRO Gender Equality in Forestry Task Force, developed a webinar series on gender and forestry, whose first two episodes took place leading up to the conference. The aim was to shed light on the topic and provide learning opportunities for forestry students to solve today's challenges surrounding gender in forestry. The episodes can be accessed here.

Pre-Conference Day

A Pre-Conference Day took place online with the aim of engaging IFSA members in view of the Forests in Women's Hands conference, enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the gender equality matter. The day consisted of two workshops surrounding the topic of gender & forestry facilitated by Ika Darnhofer (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna – BOKU) and Elias Andersson (Swedish University of Agriculture – SLU).

The event sought to empower the delegates and foster their capacity to address issues related to gender matters, while building a better understanding of the event through knowledge, networking and orientation. For details see this report.


Conference Proceedings:

IFSA interview with Task Force Coordinator Gun Lidestav on (Un)Doing Gender at Forests in Women's Hands 2021:

IUFRO News. "Towards Gender Mainstreaming in Forestry" interview with members of the IUFRO Task Force "Gender Equality in Forestry" and the "Gender and Forestry" Research Group and its Working Parties. Vol. 50, Issue 3/2021:

Pre-Conference Day activities report: