If you’ve taken a Women’s Studies course in college, or have been a functioning member of society in the past decade, some terms may have caught your attention. “Feminism” is the umbrella under which these words can be found, but we’re specifically talking about sexism in business. Terms like the wage gap, the pink tax, and the concept of “female-owned businesses” have been rightfully receiving more and more attention every year.
Fall Into The What?
The commonly shared statistic about the wage gap, as in, the gap between men’s and women’s wages, is that women make 80 cents on a man’s dollar. (1) This is updated from the 1960s, when the concept was first introduced, and the wage gap was more like 59 cents on the dollar. (2) The Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, and the gap has certainly narrowed since then. But according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, it’s estimated that at its current rate, the gap won’t fully close until 2059. (2)
Of course, these numbers are affected by several factors, such as the fact that women choose different, sometimes less lucrative, fields of work than men, and women are the ones who must stop work to take maternity leave. There are many who believe that for these and other reasons, that the pay gap is invalid. We beg to differ.
What’s a Girl to Do?
Even if the wage gap was indeed invalid, there are still forces at work that keep women from being fully empowered in the workplace. Sexism in hiring, harassment in the office, and the glass ceiling all keep women’s wages low, which has resulted in many women pursuing independent careers and entrepreneurial ventures that make the glass ceiling redundant, and remove the need for a patriarchal hierarchy. For some women, that means the opportunity to redefine the terms of their careers and success.
Business is Budding
CBD is big business. (3) Due to its wide variety of applications and vast potential market, CBD and CBD-infused products are experiencing a (non psychoactive) high. Navigating the legalities of developing, marketing, and selling CBD products is treacherous, and yet, many female entrepreneurs have pursued the CBD/cannabis industry.
In 2017, Inc. declared that women founders were “ruling” legal marijuana.(4) Their article described an exodus of female leaders in corporate America who wanted to make better use of their skillsets in a more welcoming, friendly environment. Women Grow was founded to invite women to become leaders in the cannabis industry. (5) Despite the interest and opportunity for a female presence, they were going up against white, misogynist proponents of cannabis and CBD.
In 2019, there is no shortage of female-owned and female-friendly CBD and cannabis products. But female leadership in the cannabis industry has actually decreased, from 36% to 27%.
Rather than throw up our hands and declare women just can’t catch a break, we’ll be taking cues from sites like Ministry of Hemp, who publish reviews and guides to women-owned CBD brands. (6)
Attack the Tax
There’s a saying in politics, that you vote with your dollar. This means putting your money where your values lie. Spending your income on businesses that serve and support products and causes you believe in - and NOT spending it on businesses that don’t. Consumer choice is powerful, and it’s easy to underestimate the effect of our purchases. The fact is, business thrives where money is invested. On the local scale, a town favoring one general store over another may cause it to close. On the national scale, a shift towards the consumption of CBD products builds an entire industry. Therefore, it’s possible to shift industry attention by voting with one’s dollar.
Speaking of the power of the dollar, the pink tax is another handicap faced by women and little girls. Products painted pink - like a scooter, for example - might cost $49 to a red scooter’s $24.99. Or Bic might release a line of pens ”For Her” that are identical to their other pens - just pink, small, and 70% more expensive. We wish we were making this up. (7). The “pink tax” is less of a tax, than a premium on products marketed (or pandered) directly to women.
The Future is Female
To be an entrepreneur, to found a business, is a risky proposition. To found a business in a new market, even riskier. To be female on top of it?! You might as well start panning for gold! At least, that’s the message given to women by a society that upcharges them for nothing, reduces their income, and hobbles their opportunities. This is why support of female-fronted cannabusinesses is so important - it gives them the chance to flourish in a new environment. It allows for more equal footing. It’s a vote of confidence into a more inclusive future.
Note: We use the terms “women” and “female” in a broad sense, and realize that most of the time, a reference to a “woman” means a middle-class white woman. There is a whole other conversation to be had about POC women in the workplace, and in cannabis as entrepreneurs as well as trans women in the workplace. We hope, in time, to cover all of these topics in depth. Thank you.