January 26, 2017

Christian Science Monitor: Marijuana and gender equity: Why cannabis industry is a magnet for women executives

“[The data tell] a really great story about what’s happening in the cannabis industry, and it tells a really stark story about business overall,” says Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association in Washington, which represents 1,100 businesses nationwide. (Despite the progress, though, she points out that women comprise half of the US workforce so gender parity still hasn’t been achieved in the pot industry.)

Why are women shattering the glass ceiling in some segments of the marijuana industry? Some observers say this business draws liberally minded rebels who are less likely to uphold gender traditions. Also, Ms. West notes that the legal pot business is brand new, and therefore unhampered by established business networks that in other industries seem to be navigable only by insiders.

“In long-established industries you have generations of business that has been dominated by men, and that creates structures of advancement that are dominated by men,” she says.

The bottom line in cannabis is that women leaders have a foothold in this young and flourishing industry, which is encouraging, says West. “The good thing is that women in an industry tend to beget more women,” who will help each other rise through the ranks.

“And that’s certainly different than the more conservative, old boys network that you might associate with a traditional industry,” says West.

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