When it comes to making women feel welcome and included, I would suggest that the tree care industry has a problem. Bearing in mind that roughly 50% of humanity is female, there is a clear under-represantation of women in tree care.
The reasons for this are manifold, as was demonstrated at this year’s Climbers Forum in Augsburg. The discussion there was intriguing, ambiguous and there was a wide range of views expressed when it came to what exactly reasons are, whether there is a problem at all – and if so how to mitigate it.
One thing that really gets me going is inappropriately used imagery. In view of the imbalance I strongly object to a sex sells-pitch to promote brands or gear. Do not get me wrong, I have no issue whatsoever of images showing women behaving in a professional manner, on the contrary, I think this can send a very powerful, positive message.
However, the image above really had me scratching my head.
C’mon, Stihl, you can do better, surely?
I mean, what is even the narrative here? Is the lady going to ride off into the sunset, wielding the MS661 in one hand and the axe in the other in gay abandon? I don’t get it, certainly not selling me on their product.
For the future I would really wish for this industry that we manage to portray the arborist profession in a inclusive fashion – and will be able to leave this kind of cheap marketing behind us on a along with all other biases and stereotypes.