To Stop Counting Bodies: New ideas for a gender equal forest sector

Last changed: 30 March 2023

This project concerns how we can achieve gender equality in the forestry sector, focusing on SLU’s forestry courses and programmes. The idea is to develop more knowledge about what gender equality means to different groups instead of counting bodies. In this way, we want to challenge what gender equality within forestry actually means.


Despite a political agenda for an equal forestry sector in which women and men should have equal opportunities, rights and possibilities to be active actors within the sector, gender segregation remains a problem within SLU programmes. The majority of the students are men and few women become professors. In addition, the forest industry’s MeToo call has confirmed discrimination, sexism, harassment and conservative norms. The problems are known, and although we are seeing positive changes, things are going slowly. Therefore, we need to develop new methods for gender equality work.

The project

The following research questions will guide the project:

  • How is gender equality defined?
  • How do the definitions affect gender equality work?
  • How does the way gender equality is defined affect the possibilities of achieving gender equality goals in the forestry sector?

The project will reach its goal to develop gender equality methods through three different steps; analysis of policy documents, interviews and focus groups as well as workshops.

Analysis of policy documents

Policy documents relating to gender equality in forestry and forestry education will be analysed to highlight how gender equality is defined and justified. Equality efforts can have different effects depending on these aspects, for example, if the importance of gender equality is justified by the conception that we are not taking advantage of women’s skills, or that more women mean that the conservative culture will change and be modernised.

Interviews and focus groups

Through interviews and focus groups, we want to gain increased knowledge of how students, teachers, and people with different management positions view the culture and norms that characterise the sector. We also want to study the mechanisms that make it possible for these norms to exist and what is needed for the norms to be renegotiated.


We conduct applied research where we present and discuss our results with those who work with or are affected by gender issues. In three workshops where representatives from the Forest Science programme and Forest Management programme and industry meet, we will discuss our findings and challenge the view of what gender equality within forestry means. The workshops will provide new contacts between SLU courses and programmes and the forestry sector, and develop new methods for gender equality work. 

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