On the eve of International Women’s Day 2019, more than 100 women from across Australia’s forest industries met at Old Parliament house in Canberra. Plenty of male colleagues joined the women too.
This was history making for Australia, such a number of women in forest industries had never gathered before. Participants found the workshop extremely valuable, as they listened to thought-provoking presentations and collaborated on ideas to improve gender equity in forest industries, building their networks along the way.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck opened the workshop and attendees heard from a panel of speakers including Dr Skye Saunders from the Australian National University, Joanne Matsoukas from VicForests, Laureta Wallace from the National Farmers Federation and Stuart Ellis from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council.
Following the guest speakers and Q and A panel, attendees participated in a workshop to discuss equity issues. Attendees shared their vision for the future, the barriers faced, current initiatives, and new ideas before deciding on priority actions. Finally, everyone had a chance to cast votes on the top 3 priority actions they most wanted to see realised.
Natalie Heazlewood, Policy Manager at Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) organised the event and is now analysing all of the information gathered from attendees to determine the next step. The AFPA Women in Forest Industries Workshop was just the beginning of the conversation about improving gender equity and diversity in our industries.