Article by Peter Vogel, Entrepreneur
The numbers don’t add up. Women make up a majority of the U.S. population (51 percent). They earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees and 60 percent of all master’s degrees. Women also earn 47 percent of all law degrees and 48 percent of all medical degrees.
And yet, there are so few women at the top of corporate America.
Among the S&P 500 companies in the financial services industry, women make up 54 percent of the labor force, but only 29 percent hold executive and senior-level positions–and only 2 percent are CEOs. The startup space is abysmal at best for women looking to get ahead. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. startups report that they have no women in the C-suite, and 71 percent have no women on their boards.
The cannabis industry may be the first to turn this trend around. While others may see tremendous challenges and stigma in the weed business, many women see opportunity. “Women are used to having to go above and beyond to prove our merit,” says Jen Price, Founder of Potnt, a public relations and marketing agency servicing the cannabis, hemp, and ancillary spaces. “We are determined care-givers, and cannabis has given women the opportunity to apply our professional skills and to make our mark on an emerging industry full of promise.”
Women in Green
Thirty-six percent of cannabis industry executives are female, which may seem small until you realize that the national average for female executives across all industries is only 22 percent. For an industry still in its infancy, there is plenty of time for cannabis to lead the way in gender equality.
“I definitely see a beautiful trend in the cannabis industry with strong women rising to leadership positions more so than in any other emerging industry,” says Jennifer M. Sanders, Founder & CEO of CNS Equity Partners. “Most of my professional experience has been in the investment and banking industries, which are pretty male-dominant fields. Given my ability to successfully work with men, I feel the cannabis industry has proven to be a wonderful environment that is much more balanced and focused on positive impact businesses.”