To help ensure its governance structure better reflects its membership, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is hosting a special two-day focus group in late January. The topic of discussion? How women can move into leadership roles within the organization and the field of conservation at large.
Approximately 20 women from different regions in the province have been invited to gather at the SWF office in Moose Jaw to come up with solutions to the ongoing issue of female under-representation in conservation. They’ll also discuss how to promote the advancement of women working within the conservation community.
“Over one-third of our members are women, yet we’re not seeing the same kind of representation in the governance system,” says SWF executive director Darrell Crabbe. And that disparity is something the SWF board wants to rectify, he says. “You want to make sure that you’re addressing all the issues that are being experienced by that large of a group within our federation.”
Historically, wildlife federations, as well as many service organizations in North America, have been recognized as so-called old boys’ clubs, Crabbe says. To remove that stigma and ensure the fastest-growing demographic in fishing and hunting—women—is recognized, the SWF wants to be proactive and keep up with the changes. “I think everyone knows what the issues are, but it makes them easier to identify and to move toward a solution when you get the affected parties together to ask, ‘What do we have to do?’”
At the women-led workshop, participants will discuss potential barriers to inclusion, then devise a list of recommendations for the board of directors. On that front, Crabbe says the board is willing to look at all possibilities for creating changes that will get more women involved, whether it’s to the association’s policies, procedures or constitution.
Learn more about the SWF’s programs and positions at www.swf.sk.ca.