My son recently told me about a student friend of his who will soon be graduating in horticulture. What an exciting time for this young woman to embark on her career in this incredible industry. The future has never looked brighter for women in horticulture.
Much more needs to be said, debated and addressed about promoting equality for women in the workplace and in the horticulture industry. I applaud those who push it and bring it to people’s attention. I admire those who push for equal pay, equal opportunity and empowerment of women in the workplace. I am grateful for their efforts on behalf of women around the world. These are important questions that I hope future generations of women will not have to face one day in their profession. However, at the start of this week which is a celebration of women in horticulture, I have chosen to leave it to people far more eloquent with the written word than I to make these points and get people to the action.
Instead, I chose to celebrate women in horticulture. Those who own businesses, run businesses, provide leadership, nurture, raise plants, roam greenhouses, work through the crazy hours of spring, take cuttings, water, scout, spray, ship, pack, weed, move pots, advise, consult, market, write, sell and more to contribute to the success of our industry. Their contributions and impact should never go unnoticed, and while many work quietly in the background, they deserve no less recognition for their efforts.
I choose to celebrate the former women of horticulture who didn’t let societal pressures hold them back and who stood out in a male-dominated field. Horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll, botanist Jane Colden, herbalist Harriet Tubman, conservationist Lady Bird Johnson, landscaper Jenny Foster Butchart and plant doctor Cynthia Westcott are just a few of the ladies who come to my mind. ‘spirit.
I choose to celebrate the many women in this industry that I interact with as editor-in-chief of greenhouse grower. They are so willing to share their knowledge with others. They are incredibly talented and accomplished in their field. They write or help with articles, speak, participate in webinars, advise and so on. They often do this without asking for anything in return.
I choose to celebrate Fluence for organizing the Women’s Innovation Leaders Forum group I am part of that brings together women from around the world to network and discuss research and innovation within the horticulture industry and share best practices. I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to be on these calls with the amazing women who are in this group. I celebrate other companies I know that are doing similar things to support women.
I choose to celebrate AmericanHort and its sponsors for highlighting women in the industry through inspiring interviews and for organizing Women in Horticulture event at Cultivate to provide women in green industry the opportunity to attend an educational networking event.
I choose to celebrate owners and businesses that try to provide equal pay and equal opportunity for the women they employ. They value their contributions. They promote their development. They give them every chance to succeed.
I have chosen to celebrate the husbands, partners, loved ones, male and female colleagues, bosses and other leaders who support gender equality and empower women in the horticultural professions. They chose a different path, and in doing so, they set a powerful example for others. Their ongoing support goes a long way in helping women succeed both personally and professionally.
Finally, I choose to celebrate the women of horticulture of tomorrow. Those to come with all their great promise, who will reach even greater heights in the field and take their place as top leaders, innovators, game changers and contributors in the industry.
As a woman in horticulture myself, I have chosen to celebrate women in horticulture of the past, present and future, because whether they know it or not, each has, plays and will play a role important not only in improving green industry, but also in improving the future of all women.
Why I celebrate the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow in horticulture [Op-Ed]