The results reveal that women are more likely to hold executive titles in every major sector of the cannabis industry than in the general workforce at large. This indicates that women have more opportunities to climb the ladder in the marijuana industry and are making quicker progress toward those goals than females in all other industries as a whole in the U.S.
It also reflects how the cannabis industry has matured and abandoned some of the practices that alienated women as both professionals and consumers.
The survey was conducted online on Oct. 6 and 7, and the findings include responses from 632 cannabis executives and professionals.
Women hold 36% of leadership positions in the entire industry. That’s significantly higher than the 22% average for U.S. companies in general, according to 2014 data from the Pew Research Center. The national figures are pushed lower by heavy male executive representation in industries like commercial banking and the government (which includes the military), according to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Denver’s Colorado Women’s College.
The University of Denver study found that in newer sectors – such as technology and social media – “women are better represented in positional leadership roles.” That phenomenon certainly seems to be playing out in the cannabis industry and is supported by the results of the survey.
In addition to testing labs, other cannabis sectors are also truly excelling at female representation in the executive ranks, most notably processing and infused product manufacturing, where women hold 48% of key decision-making positions such as owner/founder, chief executive officer and president.
While years ago it was rare to see women in executive roles on the retail side of the industry, they now fill 38% of those positions at dispensaries and recreational stores.