The Gender Gap: Ladies & Ganja
Smoking weed has never been just a 'guy thing', but the majority of studies seem to suggest exactly that - which begs the question: Where are the women of weed!?
The gender gap (or chasm in some circles) relating to women and cannabis is something of a well-known mystery. For many years, smoking weed has been viewed largely as a male pleasure - or vice. This overwhelmingly slanted view resulted in women being marginalized as objects of the "canna - culture" and not contributors. That old stereotype of a woman in skimpy clothing suggestively holding a bong pretty much summed up the female 'highdentity' in the red-squinted eyes of the media. Music videos, movies and social media all played their part in exasperating (what I have dubbed) 'marijuana manipulation' - culminating in women being almost completely overshadowed.
Females in today's 'high society'
Data would seem to suggest that women make up a minute (but steadily growing) proportion of cannabis users. However, that being said, studies of this kind tend to vary. One such study in the US found that there was indeed a 'gender gap between the number of men and women who had tried the drug in their lifetime.' According to the statistic, 47% of men and only 30% of women had admitted to trying the drug at some point. With figures like these and many others that suggest similar results, its hard to deny that gender gap does exist - but why is this? Uncovering the definitive one reason behind this a question has thus far been futile, however, it’s rather a combination of factors, and many theories have emerged in response. 'Subconscious concerns about disrupting deeply rooted social constructs' was one (quite the mouthful), while another referred to the 'real fear of legal repercussions.’ And indeed, in particularly oppressive areas, mothers have to fear having their children taken from them for smoking weed.
With speculation rife, i think it's safe to say that this indeed the work of a multitude of many different forces. Forces of a social, cultural and emotional descent.
These days however, women are beginning break free from their cultural chains to take their first steps into the brave new weed world. Female pioneers and entrepreneurs alike are making their presence felt in this predominately male, half baked ensemble. A prime example would be 43 - year old wife and mother Christie Lunsford who hails from Denver Colorado. Her story (printed in the Denver Post, link below) was one of a women who felt isolated in the medical marijuana arena full of men. According to the Post 'she would attend cannabis industry meetings and be the only woman in the room.' In her own words she described the elation of seeing another women. "The first time I saw another female, i was really excited. That was in 2010.“ In the meantime, a number of alliances and communities have arisen, revolving around women and cannabis. On the forefront is the NORML Women’s Alliance (www.normlwomensalliance.org), along with the Moms for Marijuana (www.momsformarijuana.org).
Having moved into cannabis marketing, product development and sales, Christie now attends cannabis-industry meetings that are all women - and are all about women. This transition, reflects the steady progress being made in re-evaluating women's position with the 'weed world.' Women are not only jumping into an industry built by men and reaping the rewards from the sheer scope of business opportunities (in the US, anyway). They are also reshaping pot's male centered ego in the process.
Judging from the number of female-fronted movement taking place within the industry at the moment (around the world), its fair say that women are well and truly starting make their mark on the marijuana male masses. I'd even go as far to say that over next couple of years or so we'll undoubtedly see the overdue birth of the female stoner film, not to mention a never ending slew of female orientated products - 'highly' anticipated stuff.