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Attitudes and experiences of women and minorities in the urban forestry/arboriculture profession

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In a study of urban forestry/arboriculture professionals in the United States, we found that love of trees and plants was most often listed as the reason for women and minorities entering the profession, followed closely by love of the outdoors. This order was reversed for white males. After enjoyment-related reasons, income/ employment potential was the most common reason for entering the profession for white males and minorities, but it was much less of a motivating factor for women. Satisfaction with the urban forestry profession was high and differed little among white males, females, and minorities. Satisfaction was higher for those in upper management, those with higher income, and those who entered the profession for enjoyment rather than income potential. Professional motivating factors that could be considered "selfless" ranked highest in importance, and "selfish" factors ranked lowest. Respon- dents generally disagreed that discrimination exists in the profes- sion, with the level of disagreement varying depending on the type of discrimination and the respondents' gender/minority status.
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11Journal of Arboriculture 30(1): January 2004
In a recent paper (Kuhns et al. 2002), we reported that
women and minorities are under-represented in the urban
forestry/arboriculture profession in the United States, with
10% of urban forestry professionals women and 5%
minorities in 1996. Women generally were younger, better
educated, had less time in their profession than white males,
and most often held public or private nonprofit positions.
Minorities were older and less educated than women or
white males. A considerably higher proportion of minorities
and lower proportion of females were in higher income
categories (above US$50,000 per year) than white males.
Women were concentrated in mid-level and middle manage-
ment positions, minorities in middle management, and white
males in upper management. White males were more likely
to be self-employed than were women or minorities.
These finding get at where women and minorities stand
numerically within the profession but do not describe how
they feel about their profession and why they are a part of
it. Little research has been done on women and minorities in
forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, and other “green
industries,” so there is little to summarize here. It is clear,
though, that few women and minorities are in urban
forestry professions, or forestry in general, and that their
entry into these professions is lagging behind their entry
into many other professions. Reasons for this lag are
unclear, but based on past studies it may be due to pros-
pects or reality of low income, discrimination, cultural
preferences, or other factors.
Certainly discrimination in the forestry profession has
existed in the not-so-distant past. The USDA Forest Service,
an agency that now helps lead the way in encouraging
inclusion of women and minorities in our profession, only
35 years ago tried to discourage women from being forest-
ers. A 1967 Careers in Forestry brochure from the Forest
Service (USDA-FS 1967) said of women in forestry:
There are stringent physical demands on an individual, and
for this reason most of these positions are sought by men.
Some women
in forestry have pursued rewarding careers
in forestry research, educational, or library work. Others
interested in conservation and related fields have been
trained in personnel, fiscal, or administrative management
work
rather than the actual technology of applied
forestry.
If the leaders in forestry considered these things matter-
of-fact not so long ago, then perhaps such attitudes still
persist or are thought to persist. An 18-year-old woman who
saw that brochure in 1970 would be 50 years old today and
might remember such attitudes. Though no data exist for
urban forestry, Teeter et al. (1990) found that 59% of women
Society of American Foresters (SAF) members in the south-
eastern United States felt that women are not entering
forestry because it is perceived as a profession for men. They
also found that 65% of women felt that gender discrimination
existed in their workplace, and 71% did not think that women
have the same opportunities as men in the profession.
Minorities are so poorly represented in urban forestry
and forestry in general that almost nothing is known of their
experiences and attitudes within these professions. We
found that only 5.3% (191 of 3,615) of respondents to a
survey of urban forestry professionals were minorities
(Kuhns et al. 2002) and that the membership of the Society
of American Foresters (SAF) is only 1.6% minorities (SAF
2001). Several studies suggest minorities, especially African
Americans, are less likely to belong to outdoor groups and
visit outdoor areas due to economic, cultural, and discrimi-
nation-related barriers (Meeker et al. 1973; Taylor 1989;
ATTITUDES AND EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN AND
MINORITIES IN THE URBAN FORESTRY/
ARBORICULTURE PROFESSION
By Michael R. Kuhns
1
, Hope A. Bragg
2
, and Dale J. Blahna
3
Abstract. In a study of urban forestry/arboriculture professionals in
the United States, we found that love of trees and plants was most
often listed as the reason for women and minorities entering the
profession, followed closely by love of the outdoors. This order was
reversed for white males. After enjoyment-related reasons, income/
employment potential was the most common reason for entering
the profession for white males and minorities, but it was much less
of a motivating factor for women. Satisfaction with the urban
forestry profession was high and differed little among white males,
females, and minorities. Satisfaction was higher for those in upper
management, those with higher income, and those who entered the
profession for enjoyment rather than income potential. Professional
motivating factors that could be considered “selfless” ranked
highest in importance, and “selfish” factors ranked lowest. Respon-
dents generally disagreed that discrimination exists in the profes-
sion, with the level of disagreement varying depending on the type
of discrimination and the respondents’ gender/minority status.
Key Words. Urban forestry; arboriculture; ISA; SAF; minori-
ties; women; gender; careers; diversity; discrimination.
12 Kuhns et al.: Women and Minorities in the Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Profession
Blahna and Black 1993). These broad perceptions may also
influence career choices, keeping some minorities away
from outdoor-oriented careers.
In this paper, we will follow up on the description of the
urban forestry profession’s demographics as reported in
Kuhns et al. (2002) by exploring attitudes and motivations
of women and minorities regarding their urban forestry
professions. This study was sponsored by the National
Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council
(NUCFAC) to learn more about and to increase involvement
of women and minorities in urban forestry professions.
METHODS
In 1996, we conducted a screening survey (to identify
females and minorities) and an in-depth survey of urban
forestry professionals in the United States using techniques
described by Dillman (1978, 1999). This survey included all
U.S.-resident members of the International Society of
Arboriculture (ISA) and the Society of American Foresters
(SAF) Urban Forestry Working Group, as well as state urban
forestry and volunteer coordinators. The in-depth survey
included all females and minorities we could identify (N =
527) plus a random sample of white males (n = 267). The
detailed survey yielded 561 valid responses and a 75%
response rate. Refer to Kuhns et al. (2002) for a complete
description of the methods for this study and for descrip-
tions of respondents’ demographics. Data collected included
work sector (public, private nonprofit, private for-profit),
education, and income. Respondents also were asked about
their reasons for entering the profession, job satisfaction,
professional motivations, and discrimination, which will be
described here. Note that since the entire female and
minority population was used for the detailed survey, it is
not appropriate to use inferential statistics—thus, we use
descriptive statistics in this paper.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Reasons for Entering the Profession
Regardless of gender or minority status,
enjoyment-related reasons were listed most
often as the reason a respondent entered the
urban forestry profession (Table 1). Love of the
outdoors was the most common reason listed by
white males, followed by love of trees/plants;
this finding was reversed for women and
minorities. After enjoyment, the most common
reason for entering the profession for white
males and for minorities was income/employ-
ment potential (both at 11%); only 5% of
females listed income/employment potential as a
reason. Not surprisingly, median income was
higher for those whose motivation for entering
the profession was income/employment
(US$38,938) than for those with other motivations
(US$33,000). Altruistic motivations (saving the planet and
community service) were listed most often by women (22%)
and minorities (16%) and least often by white males (8%).
Minorities were most likely and females were least likely to
list having background/experience in the profession as a
reason. Curiosity was listed as a reason by 5% of women
and of minorities but only 1% of white males.
These results are somewhat comparable to those of
Teeter et al. (1990), who found that women foresters were
heavily motivated to enter the profession by altruism and a
love of nature. The importance of enjoyment-related
reasons that we found for entering the urban forestry
profession may be somewhat comparable to Wright and
Floyd’s (1990) finding that 93% of natural resource majors
at The Ohio State University chose their major because of a
strong interest in the area. Their second- and third-ranked
reasons were career opportunities (71%) and starting
salaries (49%), similar to our income/employment potential,
though our numbers for that category were quite a bit
lower. One difference between our findings and theirs is
they found that women were more likely to select a natural
resource major based on starting salary than men. These
comparisons are somewhat suspect, of course, since Wright
and Floyd were studying students and majors rather than
professionals and careers.
Satisfaction with the Profession
General satisfaction with the urban forestry profession was
high and differed little among white males, females, and
minorities (Table 2). Minorities showed the highest mean
satisfaction and women the lowest, but overall 95.9% of
respondents were satisfied or very satisfied. This is likely a
somewhat skewed result, since our sample included current
professionals only, not those who might have chosen to
White male Female Minority
Motivation (n = 220) (N = 238) (N = 63)
Enjoyment reasons 62% (137) 56% (133) 51% (32)
Love of outdoors 41% (91) 26% (63) 21% (13)
Love of trees, plants 20% (44) 28% (67) 24% (15)
Enjoyment 1% (2) 1% (3) 6% (4)
Altruistic reasons 8% (18) 22% (52) 16% (10)
Save planet 5% (11) 11% (26) 10% (6)
Service to community 3% (7) 11% (26) 6% (4)
Other reasons
Income/employment potential 11% (24) 5% (11) 11% (7)
Background/experience in profession 6% (13) 4% (10) 10% (6)
Family/friends in profession 5% (10) 4% (9) 3% (2)
Curiosity 1% (3) 5% (11) 5% (3)
Other 7% (15) 5% (12) 5% (3)
Table 1. Motivations for entering the urban forestry profession shown
as percentages within a gender or minority category (number of
respondents in parentheses).
13Journal of Arboriculture 30(1): January 2004
leave the profession because they were dissatisfied. Still, it
seems reasonable to assume that if many are dissatisfied and
leave the profession, then some of that dissatisfaction would
have registered here with those who had not yet left the
profession. Our professional satisfaction findings for
women are similar to those of Griffin (1993), who found
that 89% of women natural resource professionals were
glad they chose their profession.
Though general satisfaction with the urban forestry
profession was high, some groups registered greater satisfac-
tion than others. In particular, upper-level management
showed considerably higher satisfaction (mean = 4.63) than
entry-level (mean = 4.29) or mid-level (mean = 4.32) employ-
ees. Similarly, those with higher income showed somewhat
higher satisfaction; when annual income was above
US$50,000, mean satisfaction was 4.68 (n = 104), and when
annual income was below US$35,000, mean satisfaction was
4.37 (n = 267). Satisfaction varied little by education level, but
reason for entering the profession seemed to matter some-
what. Those who entered the profession because of a love of
trees, plants, or forestry were more satisfied, with a mean
satisfaction of 4.58 (n = 156), than those who entered the
profession for income potential, with a mean satisfaction of
4.20 (n = 10). Though there were satisfaction differences,
only 10 individuals, or 1.8%, expressed any level of dissatis-
faction with the profession (choices 1 or 2).
Respondents also indicated satisfaction by the level of
their agreement with several statements dealing with
professional benefits/rewards (Figure 1a–d). For Figures 1,
3, and 4, a six-point Likert scale is used, with 1 = strongly
disagree and 6 = strongly agree. Though no neutral answer
was presented in the questionnaire, 3.5 was the midpoint, so
the means are presented as bars extending from this
midpoint to more easily distinguish mean agreement from
mean disagreement. On average, respondents slightly
agreed that there was too much work for the pay, that they
had the opportunity for promotion, and that their fringe
benefits were good. Women were slightly more likely than
white males or minorities to agree about too much work for
the pay and benefits being good, and less likely to agree that
they had the opportunity for promotion. Still, these differ-
ences were small. There was slight disagreement that there
was no job security in the profession, with white males
showing slightly stronger disagreement. Standard deviations
for these means ranged from 1.29 to 1.49, indicating a fairly
wide range of responses. White males’ answers on work for
pay and on promotion varied the most (standard deviation
nearly 1.5), and females’ answers on benefits varied the least
(standard deviation 1.29). Overall, this adds to the picture
of a group of professionals who are fairly satisfied with their
profession and the work they are doing, though adequate
compensation for the work being done is an issue with
some, especially women. This goes along with the finding
described in the previous paragraph that making more
money seems to increase overall professional satisfaction.
Professional Motivations
Respondents were asked to rate the importance of various
motivating factors for them in their current profession on a
five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 = not important
at all to 5 = very important. Factors rated included job
security, performance awards such as raises or bonuses,
feelings of accomplishment, ability to advance, and ability to
make a difference (Figure 2). Gender or minority status
Very Very
Category dissatisfied (1) Dissatisfied (2) Indifferent (3) Satisfied (4) satisfied (5) Mean (SD)
White male 0.8% (2) 2.5% (6) 0.8% (2) 39.3% (96) 56.6% (138) 4.48 (0.72)
Female 0% (0) 0.8% (2) 3.9% (10) 46.5% (118) 48.8% (124) 4.43 (0.61)
Minority 0% (0) 0% (0) 1.4% (1) 40.0% (28) 58.6% (41) 4.56 (0.52)
Overall 0.4% (2) 1.4% (8) 2.3% (13) 42.6% (238) 53.3% (298) 4.47 (0.65)
Table 2. Answer to the question “In general, how satisfied are you with your profession?” Data include percentages
within a gender/minority category, number of respondents in parentheses next to percentages, means, and standard
deviations.
Figure 1. Job satisfaction as indicated by agreement
with statements related to professional rewards/benefits
(on left). Bars indicate mean level of agreement and
originate at 3.5 for clarity (3.5 is the midpoint between
the extremes of 1 = strongly disagree and 6 = strongly
agree). Means less than 3.5 indicate disagreement and
greater than 3.5 indicate agreement. Standard deviations
are not shown but ranged from 1.3 to 1.5.
14 Kuhns et al.: Women and Minorities in the Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Profession
differences were minimal. For all groups, what could be
called “selfless” motivations ranked highest in importance,
and “selfish” motivations ranked lowest. Accomplishment or
accomplishing something worthwhile was rated highest
(means 4.59 to 4.76), with ability to make a difference close
behind (means 4.54 to 4.66). Job security came next at just
above 4, and ability to advance and chances for a raise or
bonus were ranked above neutral but much lower than the
other factors. Griffin and Ehrenreich (1993) found that 60%
of women natural resource professionals listed “satisfying
work” as the best part of their job—which is similar to our
“accomplishments” or “making a difference,” and only 11%
listed money.
In comparing the results in Figure 2 with the data
previously described in Figure 1, raises and bonuses aren’t
considered very important (Figure 2a), yet too much work
for the pay is agreed to be something of an issue (Figure 1a).
Professional advancement is considered weakly important
(Figure 2b), and there is slight agreement that there is
opportunity for promotion (Figure 1b). Finally, job security
is considered very important (Figure 2c) but doesn’t appear
to be a major issue, since there is general agreement that
there is good job security (disagreement that there is no job
security; Figure 1d).
Respondents also indicated their agreement with various
statements about certain professional values that could be
considered motivational. These values included whether
their profession is challenging, whether their purpose is
clear, and whether they have a lot of freedom (Figure 3a–e).
Gender or minority status differences again were minimal.
Respondents strongly agreed that their profession was
challenging, that what they do is important to them, and that
their work is meaningful to them (Figure 3a–c), matching
well with their expressions of the high importance of making
a difference and accomplishment mentioned earlier (Figure
2d–e). Agreement was strong, but less so, that their purpose
in the profession is clear or that they have a lot of freedom
(Figure 3d–e). Women were slightly less likely to agree that
their purpose was clear and that they had a lot of freedom.
Standard deviations were quite a bit lower compared to the
reward/benefit statements mentioned earlier (Figure 1a–d),
ranging from 0.79 to 0.99 for items 3a–c and 1.00 to 1.23
for items 3d–e. Urban forestry professionals appear to be in
the profession more for the intangible rewards than for
money and promotions
Perceptions of Discrimination
Figure 4 presents respondents’ perceptions of discrimina-
tion in the profession by gender and minority status. We
asked respondents to indicate how they felt about the profes-
sion by indicating their level of agreement with 36 statements
about the profession and their perceptions and experiences.
Seven gender- or minority-related statements and two disability-
related statement were scattered throughout the 36.
Respondents generally disagreed with statements that
discrimination exists in the profession, though the level of
disagreement varied depending on the type of discrimina-
tion described and the respondent’s gender/minority status.
Respondents on average showed weak agreement that men
and women are treated differently in the profession, with
women showing the strongest agreement (Figure 4a). By itself
this does not show discrimination against women, however,
since the unequal treatment could be better or worse
treatment. Statement 4b more directly indicates discrimina-
tion against women, with its statement that women are
Figure 2. Answers to the question “How important are
each of the following to you in your current profession?”
Bars indicate means for five motivating factors (on left).
Figure 3. Agreement with statements related to profes-
sional values. Respondents were asked “How do you feel
about your profession?” and answered by indicating their
level of agreement with various statements (on left). Bars
indicate mean level of agreement and originate at 3.5 for
clarity (3.5 is the midpoint between the extremes of 1 =
strongly disagree and 6 = strongly agree). Means less than
3.5 indicate disagreement and greater than 3.5 indicate
agreement. Standard deviations are not shown, but
ranged from 0.8 to 1.2.
15Journal of Arboriculture 30(1): January 2004
treated unfairly. There was mild disagreement with this
statement among all groups, with women disagreeing only
slightly (mean 3.49) and white men disagreeing slightly more
strongly. Disagreement was much stronger that
men are treated unfairly, with women disagree-
ing most strongly (Figure 4d). Comparing 4b
and 4d, it appears that all groups perceive
more discrimination against women than
against men. Figure 4c is an indicator of
perceptions of reverse discrimination, with its
statement that women have better chances to
advance in the profession than men. Disagree-
ment was fairly strong with this statement, and
was strongest with women and weakest with
white males.
Figure 4e–g refers to minorities and
discrimination. There was weak disagreement
by minorities and weak agreement by white
males that minorities are treated equally to
others in the profession (Figure 4e). Disagree-
ment was stronger for all groups that minori-
ties are not given the same opportunities or
that they get better opportunities than others
(Figure 4f, g).
Respondents also were asked to react to
two statements about persons with disabilities
in the profession (Figure 4h, i). Disagreement
was moderately strong that those with
disabilities have the same opportunities in the profession as
those without disabilities (Figure 4h). However, agreement
was moderately strong that those with disabilities can be
active in the profession, with white males agreeing some-
what less strongly than females or minorities (Figure 4i).
The means in Figure 4a–g indicate generally mild
disagreement or at most mild agreement that women and
minorities are discriminated against in the profession. To
investigate these differences in more detail, Table 3 presents
the proportion and frequency for those who showed any
agreement at all, strong agreement, and strong disagreement
with three of the discrimination-related statements from
Figure 4 (items b, d, and f). For example, Figure 4b indicated
that women were near neutral to the idea that women are
treated unfairly in the profession. However, Table 3 shows
that 44% of women had at least some agreement and 8.8%
strongly agreed with that statement, compared to 30% and
2.2% of white males. The proportion of females strongly
disagreeing that men are treated unfairly was 63%, while
only 42% of white men disagreed with that statement.
Similarly, a higher proportion of minorities than
nonminorities indicated some agreement and strong
agreement that minorities are discriminated against, though
interestingly, minorities also were more likely to strongly
disagree that they are not given the same opportunities.
Though perceptions of discrimination in the urban
forestry profession are fairly weak, the thoughts and
attitudes of those perceiving discrimination are interesting
Figure 4. Agreement with statements related to discrimina-
tion in the profession. Respondents were asked “How do
you feel about your profession?” and answered by indicat-
ing their level of agreement with various statements (on
left). Bars indicate mean level of agreement and originate
at 3.5 for clarity (3.5 is the midpoint between the extremes
of 1= strongly disagree and 6 = strongly agree). Means less
than 3.5 indicate disagreement and greater than 3.5
indicate agreement. Standard deviations are not shown,
but usually were around 1 to 1.3 and only exceeded 1.5
twice (for minorities for statements b and f).
Any agreement Strongly agree Strongly disagree
(answers 4–6) (answer 6) (answer 1)
Statement % (N or n) % (N or n) % (N or n)
Women generally treated unfairly in profession (see Figure 3b)
White male 30.0% (68) 2.2% (5) 17.2% (39)
Female 44.2% (111) 8.8% (22) 10.8% (27)
Minority 42.4% (28) 10.6% (7) 15.2% (10)
Overall 38.0% (203) 6.0% (32) 13.5% (72)
Men generally treated unfairly in profession (see Figure 3d)
White male 8.5% (20) 1.3% (3) 41.7% (98)
Female 1.6% (4) 0.8% (2) 62.6% (152)
Minority 10.6% (7) 6.1% (4) 47.0% (31)
Overall 5.8% (31) 1.7% (9) 51.3% (275)
Minorities not given same opportunities as others (see Figure 3f)
White male 22.0% (49) 3.1% (7) 26.0% (58)
Female 26.8% (62) 7.4% (17) 16.9% (39)
Minority 31.8% (21) 7.6% (5) 30.3% (20)
Overall 25.4% (130) 5.7% (29) 21.9% (112)
Table 3. Proportions and numbers of respondents indicating any
agreement, strong agreement, or strong disagreement with several
discrimination-related statements. Data presented include percentage
agreement or disagreement within a gender/minority category and in
parentheses the number giving a particular answer (N or n).
16 Kuhns et al.: Women and Minorities in the Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Profession
and may prove useful. Table 4 presents all discrimination-
related comments that were written on the questionnaires
by gender/minority status of the respondent. It seems
notable that, given the number of respondents, there are
fairly few comments (n = 35) about discrimination and that
many comments are fairly positive, indicating increasing
opportunities and the ability for persons to excel if they are
qualified. Women’s comments indicating discriminatory
behavior referred to incidents or behaviors involving both
colleagues and clients. Several comments also referred to
perceptions of reverse discrimination involving both
minorities and women. Finally, several of the negative
comments addressed lack of women and minority participa-
tion in the urban forestry profession in general, rather than
discrimination against those who are in the profession.
A much higher level of perceived sexual discrimination in
forestry in general was reported by Teeter et al. (1990) than
we found here, with 65% of southern women foresters
believing that sex discrimination existed in their place of
work. Of course, their results were for women foresters in
general, rather than for urban foresters, were localized to
the southern United States, and were obtained 14 years ago.
Griffin and Ehrenreich (1993) asked women natural
resource professionals who subscribed to the journal Women
in Natural Resources about a particularly direct form of
sexual discrimination, sexual harassment. They found that
71% of their respondents had personally experienced sexual
harassment in the workplace, though only 33% felt it was a
problem for them. Though we did not ask these questions,
this appears to be a much higher level of perceived discrimi-
nation than we found in urban forestry. The lower median
incomes for women compared to white males and minorities
reported by us in Kuhns et al. (2002) may be a sign of
discrimination against women; however, we also found that
women had less experience as indicated by time in the
profession (a mean of 11 years for females versus 16 years
for minorities and 19 years for white males).
CONCLUSIONS
We have described some of the attitudes and motivations of
urban forestry professionals, particularly those of women
and minorities. We hope that this information, along with
the demographic and income information described in
Kuhns et al. (2002), can enlighten the profession in terms of
what women and minorities are experiencing and how they
feel about it. It is clear, though, that differences between
these groups and white males are subtle and relatively
minor. It also looks as though women and minorities like the
profession and find it rewarding. Discrimination against
those currently in the profession does not appear to be a
major factor keeping women and minorities out. If we want
to increase their participation in the profession, the trick
may be getting the word out that the urban forestry profes-
sion is worth considering, using current women and
minority professionals who are happy in the profession both
as examples for prospective professionals and mentors for
incoming professionals. It also is necessary to get them into
the degree programs that are the entry points into the
profession, a difficult task when so many women and
minorities avoid science-oriented fields (Leslie et al. 1998).
Perhaps we could consider hiring from beyond the ranks of
traditional forestry graduates by broadening qualifications
to allow for other natural resource-oriented degrees that
draw more women, such as environmental studies. The
greatest help, it seems, will be to continue to hire qualified
women and minorities whenever possible to provide
mentors and role models for future generations of women
and minority urban foresters.
LITERATURE CITED
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———. 1999. Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored
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17Journal of Arboriculture 30(1): January 2004
Comments by females (all were white; no comments from female minorities)
Generally positive
I think opportunities for women are increasing daily.
A competent, self-confident person will be treated like one; a person always trying to make excuses for their inabilities or inadequacies
will probably find it easy to be discriminated against because they are discriminating against themselves.
As a woman with a disability, I have been extremely sensitive to the potential for “real” or “perceived” favoritism or discrimination. My
findings are that qualifications are the determining factors, not race, sex, or disability.
Discrimination is a straw man set up to excuse personal failure.
[There are opportunities] for minorities to advance in this profession, but only if the employer supports their effort to learn English.
Generally negative
The tree department in our city is still “good old boyish.” They aren’t ready for women yet, but someday …
There is a bias against hiring women for “heavy” landscaping or maintenance, but bias towards women for “high-end” gardening and
professional design/sales, horticulture work that involves more thinking, writing, and talking.
The “good ol’ boy” network is alive and well within the profession.
It’s a man’s profession.
If I wanted part of another sales rep’s territory, all I had to do was sleep with him.
Mostly verbal abuse and unneeded comments that I just ignore and/or live with.
I’ve found there are some folks with a mindset “I’ll never change” and unfortunately this is a lot of times younger men.
I have seen many double standards within situations in 14 years, mostly on the local level; state level is okay.
Clients can be a problem; they are sexist.
[It is] frustrating to be a woman in the business particularly because of unequal treatment and the rumors that are inevitable.
I was assumed to be a lesbian.
I was assumed to be a secretary or the boss’s daughter or wife; if I got along with male co-workers, I’m assumed to be having an affair
with them.
I’ve had to work harder and be better to be judged as my male counterpart’s equal.
Minorities get the low-paying jobs for all the landscape jobs.
Minorities lower the wage scale.
[Minorities] are given preferential treatment.
There are not a significant number of minorities being trained or who choose this profession. We have trained nearly 200 foresters as data
collectors for our inventory, and there have been about six blacks, three Asians, a few Hispanics, and no one with disabilities.
Generally neutral
What minorities? I don’t experience this.
I do not know very many minorities or disabled persons in urban forestry. Or women for that matter.
Comments by white males
Generally positive
[Women] are treated the same, equal.
Generally negative
Women and minorities as of my knowledge do not proceed in this occupation. It is too labor intensive. There are exceptions to this, but
they are few.
I feel it is the other way around. Minorities get used and aren’t compensated enough.
Women seem to have an edge for consideration in promotions in this profession (management positions, educational and research
promotions). The gender pendulum has swung, or so it seems in [state].
[Minorities] are treated better sometimes.
Generally neutral
There is no such thing as a level playing field, and motivation to accomplish anything must start from within. If [the] desired goal is
truly worth attaining, the struggle to achieve it is at best secondary.
I am disappointed that any survey in this day and age focuses so much attention on race, sex, and physical ability.
[I] know of only one or two women in the trade.
If there are few minorities in urban forestry, it is because there are few minorities studying the discipline that leads to this profession.
[The] tendency is for introverted people to gravitate to forestry to get away from people; most jobs are people jobs; there is no “hermit
in the woods” existence.
Comments by minorities
Generally neutral
White, male, balding, dominant.
Table 4. Discrimination-related comments written on the questionnaire by respondents by gender/minority status.
Comments are organized in order of generally positive (little discrimination or things not too bad and getting
better), generally negative (significant discrimination), or neutral (general comment or difficult to classify).
18 Kuhns et al.: Women and Minorities in the Urban Forestry/Arboriculture Profession
Acknowledgments. Support for this project came from the
National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, Utah
State University Extension, and the Utah Agricultural Experiment
Station, Logan, UT 84322-4810. Approved as UAES journal paper
no. 7553.
1*
Associate Professor
2
Extension Forestry Assistant (former)
Department of Forest, Range, and Wildlife Sciences
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-5230, U.S.
3
Associate Professor
Department of Environment and Society
Utah State University
Logan, Utah 84322-5215, U.S.
Résumé. Dans une étude auprès des professionnels de la
foresterie urbaine aux États-Unis, nous avons découvert que
l’amour des arbres et des plantes était le critère le plus
souvent évoqué comme étant la raison pour laquelle les
femmes et le minorités entraient dans cette profession, suivi
de très près par l’amour des espaces extérieurs. Cet ordre
était inversé pour les hommes de race blanche. Après les
raisons relatives à la joie, le potentiel salarial par rapport à
l’emploi était le motif le plus habituel pour joindre cette
profession pour les hommes blancs et les minorités, mais
par contre cela était un facteur moindre de motivation chez
les femmes. La satisfaction envers la profession de la
foresterie urbaine était la plus élevée pour ceux qui étaient
dans l’échelon le plus élevé de gestion, ceux avec les salaires
les plus élevés et pour ceux qui étaient entrés dans la
profession plus par intérêt que pour le potentiel salarial. Les
facteurs de motivations professionnelle qui pouvaient être
considérés comme « désintéressés » se classaient de manière
plus élevée dans l’ordre d’importance et ceux plus « égoïstes
» de manière plus basse. Les répondants n’étaient
généralement pas d’accord qu’il existait une discrimination
au sein de la profession, et ce avec un degré de désaccord
variant selon le type de discrimination ainsi que selon le
genre et le statut minoritaire des répondants.
Zusammenfassung. In einer amerikanischen Studie
über professionelle Arboristen in Städten fanden wir heraus,
dass die Liebe zu Bäumen und Pflanzen der meistgelistete
Grund, gefolgt von der Liebe für die Arbeit draussen für
Frauen und Minderheiten war, um diesen Beruf zu
ergreifen. Dieses Ergebnis wurde revidiert von den weißen
Männern. Nach Freude an der Arbeit waren Einkommens-
und Anstellungspotential die meistgenannten Gründe für
weiße Männer und Minderheiten, diesen Beruf zu ergreifen,
Aber für Frauen war das kein motivierender Grund. Die
Befriedigung durch den Job war hoch und wenig
differenziert zwischen den weißen Männern, Frauen und
Minderheiten. Die Befriedigung war größer in den höheren
Einkommensklassen und für diejenigen, die den Beruf eher
für Freude an der Arbeit als an den Einkommenschancen
ergriffen haben. Professionelle motivierende Faktoren
könnten in erster Linie Selbstlosigkeit und als letztes
Selbstsüchtigkeit sein. Die Teilnehmer der Umfrage
stimmten nicht zu, dass in diesem Beruf Diskriminierung
herrscht, mit unterschiedlichen Abstufungen in
Abhängigkeit von dem Typ der Diskriminierung und dem
Status der Herkunft.
Resumen.
En un estudio de profesionales dasónomos
urbanos en los Estados Unidos, encontramos que el gusto
por los árboles y plantas fue con frecuencia indicado como
la razón por la cual las mujeres y minorías entran en la
profesión, seguida de cerca por el gusto a los espacios
abiertos. Este orden fue inverso para los hombres blancos.
Después de las razones de disfrute, el potencial ingresos/
empleo fue la razón más común para conocer la profesión
para hombres blancos y minorías, pero este factor de
motivación es mucho menor para las mujeres. La
satisfacción con la profesión de la dasonomía urbana fue
mayor y difirió poco entre hombres blancos, mujeres y
minorías. La satisfacción fue mayor para los presupuestos
mayores, con más altos ingreso, y quienes se enteraron de la
profesión por disfrute antes que por ingreso potencial. Los
factores de motivación profesional que podrían ser
considerados “selfless” estuvieron desde las importancia
más alta y factores “selfish” de la más baja. Los encuestados
generalmente no estuvieron de acuerdo en que exista
discriminación en la profesión, con el nivel de desacuerdo
variando dependiendo al tipo de discriminación y al estatus
género/minoría de los encuestados.
... Therefore, urban forestry degree programs, already at a disadvantage due to poor public recognition of the profession, may find their enrollment bottlenecked by relying on recruitment solely from the pool of students admitted to traditional natural resource programs, which tend to market their programs toward careers in non-urban areas. This peculiarity of recruiting from a pool of predominantly white rural males is thought to contribute to what Kuhns et al. (2002Kuhns et al. ( , 2004 reported to be the limited racial/ethnic and gender diversity among urban forestry practitioners. As our understanding of the ecosystem services provided by urban forests improves, more cities are looking toward tree-based solutions to urban problems. ...
... We turned to an examiniation of how Person Inputs influence perception of urban forestry as a career after finding little or no evidence of a relationship between either the professional support mechanisms most valued by students or their Background Contextual Affordances and their perceptions of an urban forestry career. Previous work has shown that both female and non-white students are underrepresented in traditional forestry relative to other natural resource disciplines (Sharik et al., 2015); and it is known that racial, ethnic, and gender diversity is lacking among urban forestry practitioners (Kuhns et al., 2002(Kuhns et al., , 2004. Concurrent survey research we conducted on over 500 municipal tree managers revealed a similar trend with respondents being 91% white and 78% male (Urban Forestry 2020, 2017Urban Forestry 2020. ...
... Surprisingly, rural students were more likely than suburban students to know about urban forestry. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is consistent with the historical demographics of traditional forestry and natural resource programs in which most urban forestry degrees are housed (Kuhns et al., 2002(Kuhns et al., , 2004Sharik and Frisk, 2011). Similarly, we found that students enrolled in traditional natural resource courses or declaring those majors reported the greatest previous knowledge of urban forestry. ...
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In the United States, universities offering degrees in urban forestry are challenged by low enrollment. Meanwhile, there is a lack of racial/ethnic and gender diversity among U.S. urban forestry practitioners. Identifying factors that influence career choice could help inform recruitment efforts for urban forestry degree programs and the profession. We surveyed more than 1,000 undergraduate students enrolled in natural sciences courses at 18 U.S. universities to evaluate their career decision-making processes. Students were first asked about their previous knowledge of urban forestry before viewing an informational video and then asked about their impression of an urban forestry career afterwards. Responses indicated that personal interest and job satisfaction were the most important factors for these students when considering career paths, even more important than pay and prestige. Previous knowledge of urban forestry was very low, especially among suburban students. After viewing the video, favorable impressions of urban forestry increased slightly. Students from families with annual incomes greater than 150,000 USD showed less interest in urban forestry than other students. Overall, student perceptions were not influenced by gender, race/ethnicity, childhood residential setting, or socio-economic status, and no significant intrinsic barriers to interest were identified. This suggests urban forestry may appeal to a more diverse population than is currently represented in the profession and lack of awareness may be a significant obstacle to recruiting not only more students, but also more diverse students. Thus, the profession may need to promote its public image well beyond traditional forestry and natural resources programs to reach new audiences.
... While there is a growing literature on variation in the attitudes and actions of residents in relation to trees and urban forestry (Getz, Karow, & Kielbaso, 1982;Hull, 1992;Hunter, 2001;Jones, Davis, & Bradford, 2013;Kirkpatrick et al., 2012;Kirkpatrick, Davison, & Daniels, 2013;Lohr et al., 2004;Summit & McPherson, 1998;Zhang & Lin, 2011;Zhang, Hussain, Deng, & Letson, 2007), the attitudes of arboricultural and other tree professionals have been largely ignored. In two exceptions, Braverman (2008) argues that tree professionals impose arboriphilia and Kuhns, Bragg, and Blahna (2002), Kuhns, Bragg, and Blahna (2004) document gender bias. ...
... Tree professions are likely to encompass a variety of attitude syndromes (sensu Kirkpatrick et al., 2012), which may be concentrated geographically, occupationally, by employment type and by gender (Kuhns et al., 2002(Kuhns et al., , 2004. For example, those tree professionals who are engaged in planning and strategising may have different perspectives and motivations than those who directly manage trees on the ground. ...
... This variation in governmental approach is reflected in the stronger influence of city on the type and density of street trees than on garden trees . The lack of an effect of gender on the composition of attitudinal groups was surprising in the context of previous research (Kuhns et al., 2002(Kuhns et al., , 2004. ...
... Based on this, Agarwal, (2009) posited that it is now apparent that limiting access to the forest or dwindling availability of forest products has drastic impacts on women's livelihoods. Kuhns et al. (2004) and Lachapelle et al. (2004) carried out a research on gender roles analysis in the management of forest resources in Nepal and came up with the finding that privatization of forested lands or natural resource protection that excludes stakeholders from sustainable resource use threatens women's role of completing the "daily management of the living landscape". These findings corroborated the earlier findings of Rocheleau et al. (1996), Lidestav and Ekström (2000), Lama and Buchy (2002), who concluded respectively that women suffer more from negative forest policies than men. ...
... ;Kuhns et al. 2004;Lachapelle, 2004;Connell, 2005;Cudd, 2006;and German et al., 2008;Contreras et al., 2008;Christie and Giri, 2011).Hence for women to become emancipated and allowed free hands to participate in most community development activities, society should make provision to do away with most of these obnoxious laws and customs that are detrimental to the development and progress of women in the forest communities. It is however sad to note that despite the knowledge women have about forest resources, their location, their relative abundance, harvesting and management; they are completely excluded from forest management activities. ...
... Based on this, Agarwal, (2009) posited that it is now apparent that limiting access to the forest or dwindling availability of forest products has drastic impacts on women's livelihoods. Kuhns et al. (2004) and Lachapelle et al. (2004) carried out a research on gender roles analysis in the management of forest resources in Nepal and came up with the finding that privatization of forested lands or natural resource protection that excludes stakeholders from sustainable resource use threatens women's role of completing the "daily management of the living landscape". These findings corroborated the earlier findings of Rocheleau et al. (1996), Lidestav and Ekström (2000), Lama and Buchy (2002), who concluded respectively that women suffer more from negative forest policies than men. ...
... ;Kuhns et al. 2004;Lachapelle, 2004;Connell, 2005;Cudd, 2006;and German et al., 2008;Contreras et al., 2008;Christie and Giri, 2011).Hence for women to become emancipated and allowed free hands to participate in most community development activities, society should make provision to do away with most of these obnoxious laws and customs that are detrimental to the development and progress of women in the forest communities. It is however sad to note that despite the knowledge women have about forest resources, their location, their relative abundance, harvesting and management; they are completely excluded from forest management activities. ...
... For example, a 2015 survey of individuals who completed the Tree Board University online course that provides training to tree board members reported 64.7% of respondents were male (Ries, 2015). The representation of 45.5% women serving on tree boards in this survey is certainly strong, considering that the fields of forestry and arboriculture have typically been even more male dominated (Kuhns et al., 2004). ...
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