Two online courses on gender and diversity in forestry now available

FSC / All paper and wood products are certified
Two Green FSC Certified Pencils Atop Black Notebook with FSC logo
FSC / All paper and wood products are certified
June 14, 2024
Category : General news

FSC is pleased to announce two publicly available trainings that specifically target some of the social concerns within the forestry sector.

The courses are available to the public through access to the sites mentioned in the course descriptions below.

This is part of FSC 's ongoing mission to protect forests worldwide, and the organizations involved in their creation aim to be a knowledge resource in the realm of sustainable forestry.

Research shows that within the first 5 years of joining, women and minorities leave the forestry sector due to harassment, bullying, pay inequity, and a lack of sponsorship and mentorship. Much of the training created to-date has focused on what diversity, equity and inclusion is and why it is important, however, never has there been specific training provided on how to take action.

“FSC has actively engaged in the first ever Massive Open Online Course on Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Forestry-related Sector, laying the groundwork for FSC’s ambition to become a leader in the sector while disseminating our values, vision and work” says Anakarina Pérez Oropeza, FSC’s Interim Head of Strategy Engagement, speaking about one of the upcoming courses.

Gender Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in Forestry-related Sectors (ForGEDI)

The first training offering, Gender Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in Forestry-related Sectors (ForGEDI), was developed under the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) Task Force on Gender Equality in Forestry to contribute to bridging the gap in forestry education by offering the latest knowledge and resources freely to all. The course is offered via the FutureLearn platform by the University of Padova in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, the University of Moncton, and IUFRO. 

As stated on their homepage, “This course delves into the pivotal role of gender, equality, diversity and inclusion within forest-related sectors, providing insights and practical approaches to fostering an inclusive environment.”

The 3-week, 12 hour course was developed by 40 dedicated volunteers over the course of two years. It is available here for free until April 2025.

Free to Grow in Forestry Certification Course

Our second training offering -- The Free to Grow in Forestry Certification Course -- is designed to shift the workplace culture to be more welcoming of women and other underrepresented groups in the forestry sector. It is forest-industry tested and focuses on ways to overcome the workplace culture barriers that women and other underrepresented people face in the sector. The Free to Grow in Forestry training specifically addresses:  how to be an effective ally, how to be an inclusive leader, and how to overcome resistance to DEI in the workplace.

The Free to Grow in Forestry Training aims to achieve gender equality and empowerment of equity-deserving groups (women, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI+, people living with disabilities, among others) in organizations at all levels from technical to executive level positions in the forest sector. More information can be found at the Free To Grow website.

Expanding our reach by expanding awareness

With time and dedicated resources, our vision is to use these training as a springboard to create larger, regional trainings that address specific barriers that women and minorities face, bringing the local context to life in a meaningful way in the various regions that FSC operates. This will allow the trainings to have greater impact in shifting the workplace cultures globally.

Forestry can benefit immensely from the integration of diverse perspectives when it comes to some of the most pressing environmental and social issues our world’s forests face. These two trainings are just a start; we hope to continue forging ahead to create accessible knowledge platforms for all, so that we may have a greater chance of succeeding in protecting forests for all, forever.