Cannabis Industry Is Better for Women Than Most, but We Must Do Better


On this International Women’s Day, I stand with the women who are striking and protesting for equality. I honestly hadn’t done much research into the gender pay gap until recently, but what I’ve found matches what I’ve experienced in my professional experience-women have to work harder and be more accomplished to achieve close to the same pay, prestige and respect as men.

Women on average make between 74 to 77 cents on the dollar compared to men across various industries. Women with a similar age, education and experience working in the exact same field as men only make 81 cents on the dollar, according to the compilation of more than 500,000 jobs by Glassdoor Economic Research. While the gender pay gap fell to just over 5% when comparing workers with the exact same job title, that demonstrates how much harder women have to work for the same job, especially in higher paying CEO-type jobs. Most of the time, women just can’t have the same experience and education as a man, they must go above and beyond. This is so wrong and we must all speak out about it, especially men.

Glassdoor Research explains:

The gender pay gap is real, both in the U.S. and around the world. Men earn more than women on average in every country we examined, both before and after adding statistical controls for personal characteristics, job title, company, industry and other factors, designed to make an apples-to-apples comparison between workers.”

Based on more than 505,000 salaries shared by full-time U.S. employees on Glassdoor, men earn 24.1 percent higher base pay than women on average. In other words, women earn about 76 cents per dollar men earn. However, comparing workers with similar age, education and years of experience shrinks that gap to 19.2 percent. Further, comparing workers with the same job title, employer and location, the gender pay gap in the U.S. falls to 5.4 percent (94.6 cents per dollar).

The cannabis industry has done much better than other industries, with 36% of women holding CEO-level jobs in marijuana-related businesses, higher than the 22% average in other U.S. industries. Women are excelling in the cannabis testing industry, with women making up 63% of executives in the industry. Cannabis processors have achieved near equality with women comprising 48% of executives in that portion of the industry.

The Atlantic reported on “Why Marijuana Business is Appealing to Female Entrepreneurs“:

“It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level,” said Becca Foster, an independent consultant with Healthy Headie, an in-home cannabis shop co-founded by Holly Alberti-Evans that goes by the tagline “the Mary Kay of Mary J.” A young mother of four, Foster worked as a senior implementation manager at Bank of America before going the cannabis consulting route. “It stalled out,” she said of her finance career; there was no clear way to balance both family and work.

“It’s not often that entire industries are born,” Crystal Huish, a certified public accountant with an M.B.A. in accounting, echoed. Huish owns Count Cannabis, an accounting firm that specializes in the marijuana industry. With cannabis companies, business models aren’t set yet, Huish said. “It’s an opportunity to break old traditions.”

But this relative gender parity wasn’t always true of this field. Long before states began permitting the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, smoking pot was traditionally portrayed in pop culture as a male pastime. Studies suggest men are still more likely than women to consume cannabis. And several of the women I spoke with said the early days of legalization here seemed dominated by aggressive “frat bro” businessmen.

I look forward to the day when women make up at least 50% of the top level cannabis jobs as I believe that women are imperative to our underlying goals of keeping marijuana law reform focused on important social justice and sustainability issues. I have personally witnessed intelligent females that I know discounted by men for saying similar things that I believe; when I then state an almost identical sentiment, my comment would get much more respect.

I vow to do all that I can to speak out against sexism (as well as racism and all forms of bigotry) within the cannabis industry and all aspects of our lives and I urge my fellow men to join me. We’ve come a long way as a society, but we have a long way to go.

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