Industry with most female leaders? Marijuana

Founders of cannabis networking group WomenGrow Bay Area celebrate at their one-year anniversary Gala in San Francisco. (By David Downs)

SOURCE: SF Gate, David Downs

Women still continue to earn less per hour than men for the same amount of work in America, but there is one highlight — the marijuana industry.

Marijuana Business Daily reports this October that the percentage of women executives in the cannabis industry is far higher than in all U.S. businesses as a whole.

About 36 percent of executives in the cannabis industry are women. By comparison, just 22 percent of executives in all U.S. businesses are women.

And in some sectors of the cannabis economy, women’s gains are even more stark. In the cannabis testing labs sector, women comprise 63% of executives. When it comes to cannabis processing or edibles — executives are 48 percent women. Women executives are most rare in cannabis investment sector (28%), but that’s still above the U.S. average.

By comparison, a Pew Women in Leadership study from 2015 found women are under-represented in Congress (20% women). Women make up just 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 500. Women account for about half the labor force.

The cannabis industry is often criticized for using sex to sell products, or engaging in frathouse hiring practices. But the survey shows it’s also among the most equitable. Researchers think it may have to do with its newness.

“In newer sectors, such as technology and social media, where gatekeepers have not yet emerged, women are better represented in positional leadership roles.”

Marijuana Business Daily received 632 responses from cannabis executives and professionals for their survey.

“Cannabis businesses that actively foster an environment where the contributions of both genders are equally valued will without a doubt have more success attracting and retaining the talent that will both set the company apart from competitors and position it to become a market maker and industry leader,” said Marijuana Business Daily.

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