And a less upbeat story…
Here’s the link.
I have pointed out when I was an employee of the Forest Service, that if you do the math and you want to hire more:
People in fire suppression and fuels (lower percentage than 50% are women)
Ethnically diverse people (in natural resources, a lower percentage than 50% are women)
Vets (a lower percentage than 50% are women)
Which I agree are good things to do..if you are not careful you could have many fewer women than in the workforce or the population. Which may if you are not careful lead to a resurgence of the macho culture that we tried to moderate in the 80’s and 90’s. Which makes the workplace less comfortable for women, and so on..
So you have to be conscious of these trade-offs as part of your diversity hiring and Cultural Transformation.
Before I retired I was the first female in an otherwise an unbroken link of testosterone molecules that extended from my boss to the President of the United States. From my boss (black male) to his boss (Hispanic male) to the Chief (white male) to the Undersecretary (white male) assisted by Deputy Undersecretary (Native American male) to the Secretary (white male) to the President (black male) assisted by Vice-President (white male). We had two female forest supervisors on 11 forests. My statement when I looked at the numbers tended to go along the lines of “I can’t believe this is 2012.”
I worked in timber management on the neighboring Eldorado from 88 to 91, twenty years ago, and here is someone in timber on the Plumas today. My experience is that there is something deeper than training will fix, not measured in EEO complaints, and probably addressed more comprehensively and openly than through individual complaints or class actions.
I recommend listening to the mp3 of Elaine Vercruysse (on the left sidebar), one Forest Service employee who is filing a discrimination class complaint. One thing she says is that things used to be better 20 years ago, and that on forests, numbers are way down.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is tackling a history of discrimination with more training and accountability as part of a cultural transformation program. But some current and former USDA employees say they’re not seeing cultural changes, and sex discrimination is still prominent within the agency.
Specifically, female employees in Region 5 of the Forest Service are objecting to the disparity between how men and women are hired and promoted. The employees also point to hostile workplace conditions, where, in some cases, egregious sexual harassment.
“We want to see more women get the opportunities they deserve, getting promotions … getting jobs and getting paid for their skills and their experience level commensurate to the men,” said Elaine Vercruysse, a logging systems planner with the Plumas National Forest in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio.
In my experience, in other regions there might not be as much overtly jerky behavior, as a pervasive questioning of folks who are not Good Old Boys (even Diverse Good Old Boys) that may harken back to a lack of acceptance of what leadership without testosterone can look like.
If we went back to my example of “currently no women Station Directors” and you asked someone, they might say “females didn’t work out” and “there are none in the pipeline” or the popular “all the good ones move to the National Forest System.” To which I would reply “I think this is a problem, do you?” “have you asked folks why they aren’t in the pipeline?” “could you hire some coaches or others to help root out people with undesirable traits and encourage those with desirable traits?” “have you ever asked the ones who moved to NFS why they did?”
I suspect this is not the last we’ll hear of this.