At one time or another, most women have been subject to subtle bards based on gender. We’ve experienced sitting down at a blackjack table and being asked by a man if we understood the math. We’ve had men fold their arms and sigh, “Young lady” when we’ve asked what they perceive as an inane question (and then we’ve struggled with mixed emotions – their condescending tone juxtaposed against the fact that they called us “young”). We’ve been encouraged to buy wrinkle cream, hair dye, and follow Juan Ponce De Leon in his futile journey: The Fountain of Youth has to be somewhere.
But that’s not really what the #MeToo movement is about. Rather, it’s about the harassments, the assaults, and the fact that women have had enough.
It’s about working next to a male coworker who makes more despite doing an identical job. It’s about watching as our nation elected a president who has referred to women as pigs, who is the subject of numerous sexual harassment cases, and who was caught on tape bragging that his fame afforded him the right to grab women by their……well, let’s just say he wasn’t talking about pet kittens. It’s about the criminal, violent acts that are blamed on a revealing piece of clothing or a gin and tonic, and not solely on the perpetrator.
We know that it is a movement that’s necessary and we also know that it was a long time coming. Throughout history, women have fought to be heard, validated, understood, and to follow in the footsteps of the women before us, who refused to go quietly into the night.
Thanks to them, and those who continue to carry the torch, women have more opportunity today than ever. This isn’t to say that the playing field is level: the wage gap continues to persist even though more women are earning college degrees than men. The gap is widest for African American and Hispanic women and smallest for Asian women. But it still exists, across races and industries. Yet one industry was part of this most recent movement before the movement reemerged. And that industry is cannabis. It’s quite fitting that Mary Jane kept women in mind as she climbed her way to the top.
In cannabis, women are still less likely to hold executive roles, but at a reduced level: female leadership makes up 36 percent in the cannabis biz. In other industries, it hovers near 22 percent.
Cannabis is also filled with female-led companies, grants, and initiatives. It is a market where women have truly found their footing.
Why Women’s Voices Loom Large
Why is this, though? Why are women so empowered by the flower? There’s probably not just one simple answer. Rather, there are several:
The timing is right
One of the reasons is luck. Cannabis is coming into its own just as women are. Sure, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinman – they made leaps and bounds for our gender. But then the movement went stagnant – it turns out that progress is like a muscle; you have to keep using it or it wilts away. And so we find ourselves still fighting for our voices to be heard, still fighting for equal representation, still wondering why old men are debating our reproductive rights. Mary Jane came along at the right time – and women have grabbed her hand in solidarity.
Cannabis is an inclusive industry
There are certain things that bond people together – if you’re from a small town in Idaho and meet someone else from the same small town, you connect. Cannabis is like that – if you consume, you connect with others who do too. This isn’t to say that you end up as best friends, skipping and holding hands as you make your way through a field of sativa. But it does imply that someone else who smokes will throw a nod your way and they’ll say, “they’re cool.” And they’ll mean it.
From a business side, cannabis is just as inclusive – it’s a new industry and that means it’s anybody’s game. But there’s something else too – the War on Drugs screwed over minorities more than anyone. And that is a wrong that’s being righted. Women of color were disproportionately affected and, as the industry strives to remedy this, it becomes a rebel against the status quo.
Women are willing to give it a shot
Some of the women in the cannabis industry are women who saw an opportunity and took it. They’re women interested in horticulture and women who see cannabis for its benefits. They’re women who join as a labor of love – they have a sick child helped by CBD or they care for a parent stricken by Multiple Sclerosis.
They’re also women who got tired of the glass ceiling so prevalent in other industries.
They’re bankers and accountants and marketers who saw themselves passed over for promotions. They’re executives whose leadership style was deemed “bitchy” as they tried to direct and achieve. They’re doctors and lawyers who are tired of the game. They’re people with years of experience, loads of talent, and buckets of determination. The perfect recipe for success.
And so succeeding they are.
Joining the Movement
If you’re a woman who wants to get involved in the cannabis industry, Women Grow is an excellent resource. If you’re just wanting to support women in the movement, you can do that too. How? By remembering that money talks.
Solicit women-owned dispensaries, buy edibles from women-led companies, and give your business to women in the movement. Go to expos, trade shows, and conventions and offer them your support.
Shopping in a dispensary owned by a man doesn’t make you wrong (and probably is inevitable), but intentionally throwing your pocketbook towards the matriarchy matters, even if it’s every once in a while.
Women can thrive in cannabis more than they have in other industries. It’s only fitting: after all, female cannabis plants are the only ones that produce buds. Without them, cannabis is just a bunch of foliage, sitting at home on a Saturday night, looking for something to pollinate.