When building the cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity (having at least 50% women) so important?

More than half of the U.S. population is female, yet less than 15% of executive officers are women. Many of the reasons for legalizing and regulating marijuana are rooted in concerns for fairness, justice, and equality. As this new industry develops, it can and should keep these values in mind and reflect our diverse society far better than corporate America. – Karen O’Keefe, Director of States Policies, Marijuana Policy Project

The relative youth of this industry presents an opportunity for women to gain a foothold as leaders with respected voices where elsewhere women in business are marginalized. I believe that building this industry with the input and ownership of women is a step towards expanding the role of women in business in other industries as well. – Hillary Peckham, COO, Etain, LLC

Women tend to keep ego out of the equation. The women at Sweet Mary Jane are ethical, want to do good work and create products that they are proud of. They’re not looking for a shout out every time they make something beautiful. – Karin Lazarus, Owner, Sweet Mary Janes

Cannabis will soon be consumed more often by women than men if positioned properly as a health and beauty product in addition to a medical and social product. But for decades, cannabis culture has positioned women and bong-holding objects in sexualized poses and clothing (if any at all). Many women feel alienated from that culture and from cannabis itself, and we can only invite them to consider the healing and social-use benefits of cannabis if they see women with whom they identify as users, producers, leaders, and experts. – Betty Aldworth, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Gender parity is just good business.  In addition to the fact that women consume a lot of cannabis, we make the majority of health decisions for our families.  Cannabis is becoming a more acceptable and prevalent tool in families’ medicine cabinets. – Wendy Mosher, CEO, New West Genetics

We’ll never again have an opportunity to make this kind of social impact. Cannabis is the fastest-growing industry in the country; if we can commit to equality now, imagine how different the group of top-level owners and executives will look 10 or 20 years down the road compared to all the other industries. – Shaleen Title, Co-Founder, THC Staffing Group

It’s…critical for the continued progress of cannabis reform that we have buy-in from women as consumers, voters, and lawmakers. When they see women are a substantial and visible part of the movement and the industry, we make a more persuasive case. – Taylor West, Deputy Director, National Cannabis Industry Association

I don’t know that overall gender parity is as important as parity of opportunity for advancement. It would be great if the workforce at a minimum represented regular users (6% of women and 8% of men) and that stayed consistent to the executive level. – Jill Lamoureux, Co-Founder, SprkLabs

Ensuring gender parity in a brand new industry is essential. Not only is it the socially responsible way to conduct business, having a diverse work force, one that incorporates the views of both women and men, increases productivity and overall happiness in the workplace. Gender parity is a no brainer. – Laila Makled, Chair, Women Grow DC

We have a unique opportunity to build an industry that we’re proud of, which reflects the diversity of our country and the diversity of cannabis consumers. Why wouldn’t we want to have gender parity? – Lindsay Robinson, Director of Development, Marijuana Policy Project

Gender, as well as cultural and background diversity, in any team leads to better decisions. – Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer, Founder and CEO, Frontier Financial Group Inc.

The gender pay gap has been more than disturbing for me throughout my career as a scientist and it feels very satisfying to create a business from the ground up that runs on equality and integrity. – Jill Brzezicki, Lab Director, CMT Labs

It is time!! The time came where we can finally say WE ARE FED UP!!! – Dr. Daniela Vergara, Co-Founder Cannabis Genomics Research Initiative


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on Gender Parity in the Cannabis Industry…



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