The machine manufacturer Ponsse has financed a calendar, produced by their German distributors, featuring scantily clad women. “We strongly denounce Ponsse’s marketing,” says Jonas Mårtensson, President, Forest.

This is not the first time Ponsse’s German distributors have published this type of calendar. However, reactions this year have been both plentiful and strong, particularly from the Swedish forest industry, where the NYKS network for women professionals in the forest industry was first to draw attention to the sexist calendar.

“The forest industry in Sweden is striving to change the forest sector’s image and to convince more women to choose jobs in forestry. A calendar such as this feels derogatory and very outdated and runs counter to all of our efforts to achieve a more gender equal forest industry,” says Jonas Mårtensson.

Change of attitude

Ponsse’s management in Sweden received a number of reactions and forwarded these comments to management in Finland. A decision was taken in Finland to scrap the calendars and to stop producing the calendar in the future.

“It is good that Ponsse has reacted, but it should have stopped producing the calendar years ago. It needs to carry out a broad review of how and in what context its brand is being used. We will engage in a dialogue with the company and with other machine manufacturers to ensure that our values and belief in the equal value of everyone are consistent. We have also postponed all study visits planned to machinery manufacturers until further notice,” says Magnus Bergman, Forest Mechanics Director at SCA Skog, and continues:

“We work proactively to persuade more women to become machine operators. But a change of attitude is needed in the industry and among machine manufacturers. This is evident not only in the calendar but also in the report published after the SkogsNolia trade fair last summer.”

More needs to be done

In conjunction with last summers' SkogsNolia, an important trade fair for the Swedish forest industry,  Västerbotten forest county and Nolia conducted a gender analysis of the trade fair to see how inclusive and gender equal the event and the exhibitors were.

“Making SkogsNolia more gender equal is part of Västerbotten forest county’s work to create a more gender-equal forest sector,” says Birgitta Boström, SCA’s forest manager in Västerbotten and an active participant in the forest county.

The gender analysis showed that many exhibitors did a good job, but men are still the norm. And this was even clearer among machine manufacturers.

“Machine sales personnel were exclusively men, while women served food and drink. One manufacturer had women dancers who presented the machines by singing and dancing in short skirts. Our survey found that even attitudes to female visitors were substantially different compared with male visitors, particularly at machine manufacturers’ stands. When a man and a woman visited a machine manufacturer stand, the staff spoke to the man, not the woman,” says Birgitta and continued:

“The analysis shows that there is a lot of work to be done if we are to achieve a more gender-equal forest industry where women and men are treated in the same way. We need to forget the old and outdated attitudes and work together to create a forest industry that includes everyone. If we are to develop and become an industry of the future, we need to make major changes.”

Everyone must react and respond

Everyone in the industry must be committed to helping make SCA and the forest industry more gender equal and to counteracting incidents such as Ponsse’s calendar.

“We are grateful for help from our employees and business partners who react to incorrect behavior, symbols or similar matters that risk offending women and men, whether they work for us or are reacting to something in the forest industry as a whole. We must all have the courage to speak up and respond,” Jonas concludes.

Published 11/8/2019