In the cannabis industry, men are taking executive jobs from women, writes Brett Arends.
If you want to see the problems facing women in business, look no further than the cannabis industry.
Not long ago the marijuana business was way ahead of U.S. business overall in the leadership positions held by women. But as the industry has become more mature and more mainstream, instead of building on that leadership, it’s going in reverse. Men are now edging out the women.
The percentage of executives in U.S. marijuana-related companies who are women has collapsed to 27% from 36% in just one year, according to the latest anonymous survey by Marijuana Business Daily. That’s still ahead of the overall average for women executives in U.S. industry, which is an abysmal 23%. But it’s a long way to fall so fast. The poll was based on an anonymous survey of 567 marijuana executives conducted in mid-August.
What’s going on? It’s a reasonably small sample, statistically speaking, so it may exaggerate the change. But that’s not all. Cannabis companies are increasingly hiring executives from the rest of corporate America, and that favors men, notes Marijuana Business Daily’s Eli McVey.
More disturbing still may be an anti-female bias in financing. Women make up just 10% of the executives in the investment sector of the marijuana complex, the survey found. And men may, either consciously or unconsciously, favor companies run by men.
In other words, cannabis is getting subsumed by the mainstream business world. This is happening precisely when you might expect it to be going the other way. A few years ago the marijuana business was an incredibly high-risk proposition, both economically and legally. Blame nature or nurture, but you might have expected that to appeal to a slightly higher percentage of men than women. By that logic you’d expect the percentage of women in leadership positions to either stay the same or increase as the industry matured.
Depressing news. If only there were something to dull the pain.