“From nude calendars to tractor calendars”: the perspectives of female executives on gender aspects in the North American and Nordic forest industries

Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research9 April 2019https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2018-0402


Increasing gender diversity is no longer just the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. Although there is general literature about gender diversity and the perspectives of females in top management and leadership, there are, however, very few forest sector specific studies. This exploratory study utilizes interviews to better understand how female executives in North America and the Nordic countries of Finland and Sweden perceive the impact of the situation of gender diversity in the forest industry. Respondents also provide career advice for young females entering or considering entry into the industry. Female executives in both regions agree that although the forest sector is still seen as a male-oriented industry, there are signs of increasingly positive attitudes regarding industry and company culture towards the benefits of greater gender diversity; however, the described changes represent an evolution, not revolution. Interestingly, despite the status of Nordic countries as leaders in bridging the gender gap, respondents from this region believe that there is significant progress yet to be made in the forest industry, especially at the entry level. With respect to career development, North American respondents suggested that young females should consider sacrificing their social life and leisure time activities, whereas Nordic respondents instead emphasized personal supports or using exit strategy from an unsupportive company or boss.


Accroître la diversité des sexes n’est plus seulement la bonne chose à faire, mais plutôt la chose intelligente à faire. Cependant, bien qu’on traite de la diversité des sexes et de la possibilité pour les femmes d’occuper des postes de cadre supérieur et de direction dans la littérature générale, il existe très peu d’études spécifiques au secteur forestier. Cette étude exploratoire utilise des entrevues pour mieux comprendre comment les femmes dans des postes de cadres en Amérique du Nord et dans les pays nordiques, tels que la Finlande et la Suède, perçoivent l’influence de l’égalité des sexes dans l’industrie forestière. Les répondantes prodiguent aussi des conseils de carrière aux jeunes femmes qui entrent ou envisagent d’entrer dans l’industrie. Les femmes cadres des deux régions conviennent que, même si le secteur forestier est toujours considéré comme une industrie à prédominance masculine, il y a des signes qui démontrent des attitudes de plus en plus positives en ce qui a trait à la culture des entreprises et du secteur envers les bénéfices d’une plus grande diversité des sexes. Cependant, les changements décrits représentent une évolution et non une révolution. Étonnamment, malgré le statut des pays nordiques en tant que chefs de file en matière de réduction de la disparité entre les sexes, les répondantes de cette région croient que des progrès significatifs restent à faire dans le secteur forestier, particulièrement au premier échelon d’emploi. En ce qui concerne le développement professionnel, les répondantes nord-américaines indiquent que les jeunes femmes devraient envisager de sacrifier leur vie sociale et leurs loisirs, tandis que les répondantes des pays nordiques ont plutôt mis l’accent sur le support personnel ou l’utilisation d’une stratégie de retrait face à une compagnie ou un patron qui offre peu de soutien. [Traduit par la Rédaction]


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Canadian Journal of Forest Research cover image
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume 49Number 8August 2019
Pages: 915 - 924


Received: 24 September 2018
Accepted: 19 March 2019
Published online: 9 April 2019


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Key Words

  1. gender diversity
  2. leadership diversity
  3. workforce diversity
  4. female managers
  5. female executives


  1. diversité des sexes
  2. diversité de leadership
  3. diversité de la main-d’œuvre
  4. femmes gestionnaires
  5. femmes cadres



Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Gintare Baublyte
Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Kendall Conroy
Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Eric Hansen
Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Anne Toppinen
Department of Forest Sciences and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


LPDP Awardee.
The second and the third authors contributed equally to this paper.
Eric Hansen currently serves as an Associate Editor; peer review and editorial decisions regarding this manuscript were handled by Philip Burton and Bin Mei.
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1. Leading with the heart and/or the head? Experiences of women student leaders in top world forestry universities
2. The “Catch-22” of Representation of Women in the Forest Sector: The Perspective of Student Leaders in Top Global Forestry Universities
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