By Catherine Laflamme
A career in the forest products industry offers as many rewards and opportunities as it does challenges. That’s what participants in Resolute’s Engineering Graduate Program and Forest Products Association of Canada’s (FPAC) Green Dream Internship Program are discovering on the job at Resolute.
We are pleased to share a series of blogposts written by the new interns on their work experience and adventures.
We might think that a sawmill is not a welcoming environment for women. People outside our industry have many preconceptions that women working in this industry must be big, masculine, and strong. On the other hand, according to women working at Resolute, their male colleagues are very open to integrating women into the workforce. They are always ready to lend a hand and they respect their female counterparts. It’s a fun and collaborative environment. It also contributes to changing the typical working culture that has prevailed in sawmills for many years.
Even if we do think that a woman of a smaller physical stature is not able to perform tasks with heavy equipment, Resolute is demystifying this myth. I can attest that a great deal of guidance is given, especially in matters relating to safety. Note that, over the past years, technology has become firmly established in the wood products industry and work has become much less manual. This helps us when operating such equipment to overcome apprehensions of such impressive and noisy machinery.
A few weeks back, I spoke to Maude, who has been an employee at the Girardville sawmill for several years. She agreed that being a woman in a supposedly man’s world is not always easy. However, as mentioned above, she told me that her colleagues have treated her in exactly the same way as other colleagues and that the working atmosphere is always respectful.
The world is far from being perfect, and it is true that some employees utter discriminatory comments. Some do so unintentionally, some intentionally, making comments that insult or undermine women’s integrity. I believe such mentalities are slowly changing and that these people are reprimanded for their actions or comments.
So, we can confirm that the wood products industry is open to women of all ages without discrimination, that it values their skills equally to men’s, and that it helps women adapt to this environment that is not so popular among the female workforce.
Would you be the next?