Now that marijuana is legal across Canada, an increasing number of people are entering the cannabis space, taking advantage of new employment opportunities created within the industry. Unlike other male-dominated sectors such as tech, finance, and construction, the cannabis space provides a new environment that is more receptive to women, welcoming fresh insight from their perspective.
The Future of Cannabis is Female. But Why?
As destigmatization continues, more people are exploring the numerous health benefits that cannabis has to offer. The cannabis industry is booming with opportunities and with that comes a need for people with diverse professional backgrounds to sustain it. The relationship between women and weed precedes the patriarchy. With the resurgence of legal cannabis, women are not going to let men dominate yet another industry that was never theirs, to begin with.
By nature, women have always been caregivers, with matriarchs taking responsibility for major decision-making surrounding spending, education, and matters affecting the health of their families. So it isn’t only their professional skills that cannabis companies want — companies also want women to bring their life experience and emotional intelligence to the table.
Cannabis Consumption Based on Gender
According to a study conducted by headset.io, men make up 60% of cannabis consumers and, on average, spend more than women. However, a deeper dive reveals that the numbers lean more towards women regarding products containing CBD as well as other “health and wellness” items (i.e., not concentrates or dried flower). To be successful, cannabis companies require women’s voices to speak to the wants and needs of female consumers. And that affects every facet of the business — from retailers and researchers to senior leadership
Talent Acquisition and Inclusion
While there is a lack of female representations in major sectors, the Canadian cannabis space is still in its infancy stage. Because the industry is relatively young, recruiters must shift their focus on hiring employees based on their potential, versus industry-specific experience. This opens up the opportunity for companies to bring on career-driven women who want to be the best in their field. Gender-inclusive talent acquisition processes based on objectivity are the key to driving innovation within organizations.
Do the Statistics Add Up?
Currently, women account for roughly 37% of senior management within the cannabis sector. While this number is considered high compared to other industries, there is room for improvement. Women make up nearly half of real estate professionals and 68% of those working education. Equality is attainable, but we have to work for it.
A Company’s Greatest Asset is its Employees …
And Your People are its Product – Richard Branson.
Some companies are ahead of the game, understanding the intersection of gender and race. CAFE, dispensary in Toronto prides itself on its diverse team, where women account for 51% of all employees, who come from different cultural backgrounds. “As a woman of colour, working for a company that really represents the city of Toronto is important to me. And each location is a reflection of the cultural diversity found in those neighbourhoods.” Says Jas, a Budtender who works at CAFE’s Bloor West Location. A recent article published by CNW Newswire reveals that CAFE has donated over $350,000 to charities over the past three years, many of which focus on helping women. Past fund-raising events have benefitted causes such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, as well as Toronto shelters for women who have experienced domestic violence.
In light of International Women’s Day, CAFE will be donating partial proceeds of their sales on March 8th to the Sistering Drop-In Centre, Located in Toronto’s Bloor West Village. Sistering is a multi-service agency for at-risk and socially isolated women and trans people who are homeless or do not feel safe in their current housing situation. To learn more about how you can help Sistering, visit www.sistering.org.
Any advice for women who want to enter the cannabis space?
Get out there. Be Confident. Know what you can bring to the table. The playing field is fairly new, but the groundwork for women to succeed is definitely there.
Historically, fast-growing industries offer opportunities to gain a wealth of experience in a short amount of time. This means that women with minimal cannabis experience but bring an arsenal of other skills have a better chance of securing permanent and more senior roles. The auto and pharmaceutical drug industry are two prime examples of sectors that have experienced exponential growth, generating several billions of dollars in revenue for their key players. Unfortunately, the key players are predominantly men. However, a promising future led by women is on the horizon. With Canada having the 8th highest gender wage gap in the world, the cannabis industry could possibly be the much-needed bridge that will bring women closer to economic equality.