RAISING VOICES, BROADENING INTERESTS: A LONGITUDINAL EXAMINATION OF GENDER AND DIVERSITY IN CANADIAN FOREST SECTOR PUBLIC ADVISORY COMMITTEES
For decades, forest companies have used public advisory committees as a primary strategy for demonstrating public involvement in forestry. A national survey of committees was conducted in 2016 to determine whether gender biases and challenges revealed in a 2004 survey had been addressed. In the 2016 survey, members from 79 Canadian forest-sector advisory committees responded to our questionnaire, followed up by 28 semi-structured phone interviews. The data collected were used to assess how women and men participants described accessibility, values, experiences and satisfaction. In 2016, women made up 20 percent of the membership of advisory committees. Men and women participants held different values about the forest management and women were less satisfied than men with the aspects of representation, quality of discussion, decision-making procedures, the quality and diversity of information provided, level of trust among committee members, opportunities to learn new things, and the overall process. These results were similar to those found in 2004, suggesting that committees have not made significant changes to their structures or processes to address gender imbalance or to make the committee processes more welcoming to different perspectives. Committee members identified a need for greater Indigenous involvement; this ambition may be difficult to achieve if their processes are not welcoming to different ways of knowing or doing.
public participation, advisory committees, gender
Master of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
School of Environment and Sustainability
Environment and Sustainability