Horticultural professions unite to celebrate International Women’s Day

Horticultural professions unite to celebrate International Women’s Day: As International Women’s Day approaches on 8 March 2024, the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media professions stand together to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and reaffirm their commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession came about after BALI’s Access All Areas webinars. Representatives from several associations agreed to sign a charter with the intention of putting together guidance notes for implementing best practices or policies that can be aligned.

Horticultural professions unite to celebrate International Women's Day

Horticultural professions unite to celebrate International Women’s Day

Supporters include the Arboricultural Association, British Association of Landscape Industries, Garden Media Guild, Green Roof Organisation, Horticultural Trades Association, Association of Professional Landscapers, Landscape Institute, Landscape Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Society of Garden Designers, Young People in Horticulture Association, Chartered Institute of Horticulture and Bankside Open Spaces Trust. Signatories to this Charter confirm their commitment to progress in the breaking down of barriers in the industry and increasing access and progression for all.

International Women’s Day serves as a poignant reminder of the progress made in advancing gender equality while also highlighting the ongoing challenges women face. Discrimination, bias, and inequality persist in various forms, hindering the realisation of true gender parity. As advocates for change, the group is committed to raising awareness about these issues and taking decisive action to drive gender equality forward.

Under the banner of #InspireInclusion, the group calls upon all stakeholders within their industries to join in celebrating the achievements of women, challenging stereotypes, and forging a more inclusive future. They hope to inspire positive change and create a more equitable world for all by amplifying women’s voices and championing their contributions.

Tessa Johnstone, Chair, BALI: “The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) is committed to working together with all the Charter members to see the paradigm shift on equality in the workplace. Landscaping has always been able to offer incredibly varied roles. We need to ensure that women can see a viable route to working in the industry if they choose – and to support them. International Women’s Day offers us a much-needed platform to celebrate women’s long-standing contribution to this incredible industry.”

Jennifer Pheasey, Director of Public Affairs at the Horticultural Trades Association, and Holly Youde, Chair of the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL): “The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) wholeheartedly endorse the Access All Areas EDI charter and its associated initiatives and join in its celebration of International Women’s Day 2024. We know there is more to be done to increase diversity and representation in our industry. As well as being clear on our ambition to address diversity gaps and remove barriers, we should also recognise the success to date, particularly of the many inspirational women in roles across our member businesses.”

Helen Sessions, Development Officer for the Chartered Institute of Horticulture: “As we mark International Women’s Day, let’s acknowledge the pioneering spirit and enduring legacy of female horticulturists and horticultural scientists. Their exceptional contributions have left an indelible mark on the horticultural landscape, profoundly shaping our fields. From the influential arts and crafts landscape designs of Gertrude Jekyll (1843 – 1932) to the innovative work of mycologist and illustrator Elsie Wakefield (1886-1972) and the trailblazing research of Katherine Esau (1898-1997), these women continue to inspire us and pave the way for future generations in horticulture. Let’s celebrate their achievements and reaffirm our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion within our profession.”

Charlotte Gilsenan, CEO, Bankside Open Spaces Trust: “Bankside Open Spaces Trust is proud to support the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession. As a female-led organisation caring for a number of public open spaces founded and championed by pioneering women, including Octavia Hill’s Red Cross Garden, we work to ensure people of all genders are welcome within the industry. Through our training, volunteering and employment opportunities, we aim to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes and create safe spaces for all to grow.”

Darryl Moore, Education, Diversity & Inclusion lead, Council of the Society of Garden Designers: “As an organisation whose members are predominantly women, the Society of Garden Designers celebrates the talents and achievements of the women who drive the garden design profession and supports the fantastic work of all women throughout the horticultural industry. Too often, these voices are not heard, and we hope that the ongoing work of the Access All Areas charter group will help to address this imbalance.”

Mo Kebbay, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing at the RHS: “The RHS is committed to working with our industry partners from the Access All Areas EDI charter in striving to ensure that horticulture, arboriculture and landscaping is more accessible for all. International Women’s Day provides us with one of many opportunities to celebrate the incredible contributions women have made to the horticultural industry. For example, Rachel Carson has changed the way that many of us look at the use of pesticides and precipitated the organic movement.

“Juliet Sargeant has been a trailblazer in garden design and achieved numerous accolades, including a Gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show for her Modern Slavery garden. And Joy Larkcom, whose international travel in search of edible plants has transformed our diet and what we grow in the UK. Her books are inspirational and informative, too. We celebrate the achievements of all the women who are making their mark in the horticultural industry, particularly those unsung heroes whose voices are rarely heard.

“Breaking down barriers is vitally important to opening up opportunities to more women and underrepresented people than ever before. And unlocking their potential has never been more important – for our organisation, for our industry and for our communities.”

Chris Bridgman – Vice Chair, Green Roof Organisation: “The Green Roof Organisation is open to all and continues to actively encourage women to flourish in a growing community. On this International Women’s Day, we reaffirm our equality, diversity and inclusion commitments and celebrate the skills, talents and leadership of all women in our industry, who themselves continue to break new ground, leading the way for future generations.”

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