Gender Equality in Forestry

Task Force Coordinator:

Gun Lidestav, Sweden


Elias Andersson, Sweden

Kalpana Giri, Thailand

Alice Ludvig, Austria

Rationale, Goals, and Objectives of the Task Force

IUFRO's 2015-2019 Strategy is built on the conviction that the main challenges for forest research relate to the interconnections between ecosystems and services for people; climate and land-use; the natural resource-base and environmentally-sound products; biodiversity and human health and wellbeing; and, ecosystems and global water cycling. Further, forestry related processes will be guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Agenda 2030 adopted by the United Nations. As the 5th SDG address gender matters in terms of agency, access to resources and how the benefits are distributed, gender/gender equality should be recognized as cross-cutting issue related to forest governance and thereby relevant to all the five IUFRO themes. However, gender matters in specific ways depending on how it intersects with other social relations, e.g., class, ethnicity and age.

Advancing gender equality can enhance the diversity, efficiency and equity of initiatives in support of the SDGs of the Agenda 2030 related to reducing biodiversity loss, combating climate change, preventing desertification, and achieving land degradation neutrality as well as mitigating linked local and international challenges.  While policies, conventions and directives are tasks to be developed, agreed on and implemented by policy makers, it is the duty of the scientific community to provide data, theories and methods to help policy makers understand the specific ways that gender shapes everyday lives, employment opportunities, knowledge production, and forest use.  Thus, the overall objective of this Task Force is to explain and promote gender equality as it relates to forests – their use, management, economic production, and as it relates to the scientific and research practices of IUFRO. Thereby the Task Force will strengthen the science-society interaction in relation to forests by improving capacities for scientific cooperation, addressing emerging issues in a proactive manner, and viewing research topics from different perspectives. Furthermore; to integrate gender as a cross-cutting issue in the implementation of the IUFRO strategy, and contribute to gender mainstreaming processes and strategic actions.

The Task Force can:

  • Demonstrate the contribution of forestry to establishing and maintaining a diverse and dynamic workforce;
  • Foster the growth and professional development of unrepresented voices and perspectives in forestry;
  • Provide insights on how gender issues affect research about forestry and scientific networks
  • Increase collaboration with other scientific disciplines

The IUFRO Task Force will identify institutions, governance arrangements, policies and instruments that can improve prospects for a more inclusive workforce and will be better positioned to respond to scientific, management and workforce challenges facing forestry internationally. Part of the Task Force will draw on the work of natural and social scientists, industry leaders, and policy makers to better understand the kinds of institutions and instruments that can facilitate a wave of change towards more inclusive structures for forestry, forest management, and forest governance. This part of the Task Force will bring together IUFRO Divisions 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

The Task Force will also draw on experiences within specific countries that are bringing academic researchers together with forestry practitioners and policy makers to address research questions that are directly relevant to the forest industry and forest policy-makers and ensure that research results are meaningful and placed in the hands of people who will use them. Hence, the Task Force will link with initiatives and institutions such as the National Task Force on Gender Equity (Canada), the implementation of the Swedish Gender Equality Strategies (national and regional) in Forestry, the gender mainstreaming of the Institutional Strengthening for Catalysing Forest Sector Development Project in Ethiopia.

There are opportunities to collaborate with other policy processes, programs or tools such as "The Greenest Workforce" initiative of the Forest Products Association of Canada, and different processes initiated by e.g. the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Send comments to Gun Lidestav (Task Force Coordinator)