Women of the woods

Women of the woods

Sweden is one of the world's most densely wooded countries – made up by about 70 percent forest. Half of it is privately owned by more than 330 000 people and about 38 percent of them are women. That makes forestry one of the most common business sectors for female entrepreneurs in Sweden. Today, more than one third of forest owners live in a municipality other than the one where their woodland is situated, many having another job as their main occupation.

Increasing gender balance

Even though women own a significant proportion of Swedish forest properties, their representation in decision making boards is still low. Gender balance is one of the top priorities for Spillkråkan – an organisation assembling women that are forest owners. Spillkråkan is also the Swedish name for the black woodpecker that is a symbol of environmental focus in the forest sector. The organisation was founded in 1998 and has about 400 members – women of all ages and from all over the country. Spillkråkan is working to empower women in the sector, to increase knowledge on sustainable forestry and to create networking opportunities.

 

Nordic networking

Sweden is not the only densely wooded country in the Nordic region and in the summer of 2019 the newly established network Nordiske Skogskvinner (Nordic Women in Forestry), held its first conference in Jönköping, an event gathering about 80 participants from Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Austria. The plan is to make this conference a biannual event and the theme for the premier event was ”Forest as an income source”.

In an article from Nordic forest research’s News & Views (No 6, 2019), Kerstin Dafnäs, chair of Spillkråkan says:

”– It is important to emphasise that forest owners are also entrepreneurs. The forest has a unique role in the transition to a green bio economy, and this transition needs to engage both men and women, as well as senior and junior people.”

”– The forest owner produces so many benefits for society: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, recreation and energy, besides the traditional roundwood products. We need to invent new ways to get paid for our work, and we need to make people aware of the services and goods we deliver. I believe that we will see several new niche markets develop.”


Thank you Spillkråkan and Nordiske Skogskvinner – you are an inspiration to women and forestry all over the world. Keep up the good work!

Sources:
cepf.org
spillkrakan.se
nordicforestresearch.org (article in News & Views No 6 2019

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