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International Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating the leaders of canna technology

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Let’s hear it girls!

International Women’s Day (International Women’s Day) is a global celebration of the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women. And since it falls in the fall of March, which is also Women’s History Month, the love doubles. The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” which, according to the United Nations, “honors and celebrates women and girls who champion the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.” In addition, the IWD 2023 theme provides an opportunity to examine how increasing economic and social disparities are affected by the digital gender divide and highlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in the digital realm.

Since the dawn of the digital age in the mid-20th century, women have made immeasurable contributions to the development of our increasingly digital world. Grace Hopper was an eminent computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers to work on the general-purpose electromechanical computer, the Harvard Mark I; Radia Perlman, dubbed the “Mother of the Internet”, designed the algorithm behind Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and was instrumental in making today’s Internet possible; Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose trajectory analysis was critical to the success of America’s first-ever spaceflight.

While women make up only 22% of AI workers globally, digital technology is creating new opportunities for global liberation for women, girls, and other marginalized groups. According to the United Nations. The digital age offers an unparalleled opportunity to eliminate all kinds of inequalities and inequities, from gender-responsive digital learning to sexual and reproductive health care facilitated by technology.

women in weed

In the cannabis industry, women play important roles as entrepreneurs, educators, producers, marketers, researchers, and more. Women have also developed innovative technology solutions and programs to help move the sector forward. However, despite the progress made, there is still work to be done to achieve gender parity in the industry. according to the reportDiversity, equality and inclusion in the cannabis industry” by MJBizDailyBoth cannabis company ownership and the percentage of women in executive positions showed stagnant growth from 2020-2021, with both categories in the range of 1-2%.

The importance of showcasing and supporting women in historically male-dominated industries cannot be underestimated. According to psychologist Penelope Lockwood, women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models.

“Outstanding women can serve as inspiring examples of success, demonstrating the kinds of accomplishments the women around them can be,” says Lockwood. “They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, signaling to other women that high levels of success can indeed be achieved.”

To celebrate our sinsemilla sisters, three women who challenge gender bias and inequality share their thoughts on the intersection of women, cannabis, and technology.

Photo provided by Aubrey Amatelli

Aubrey Amatelli

Founder of PayRio, Inc.

PayRio It is a payments company founded by women that provides specialized payment solutions in the CBD and high risk health and wellness sectors. Founder and self-describes as a “long-term, high-paying expert” Aubrey Amatelli She has a background in payments processing, honing her craft at corporate giants including JPMorgan.

“80% of our business directly supports dispensary growth through card payments,” says Amatelli. “Our mission is to normalize payments in the cannabis industry and we are off to a great start.”

Amatelli says she has great respect for cannabis and uses the plant therapeutically regularly. She says her “love of the factory” led her to found PayRio with the goal of “bringing feminine energy into the tech payments space, in an industry bursting at the seams with feminine power potential” and her goal is to “help that woman’s breakthrough energy and thrive.”

“The cannabis flower we all love and support comes from the female plant, which is restorative and receptive in nature; that same energy has a huge impact on technology,” says Amatelli. “Women in tech are also directly linked to increased revenue and innovation. Women contribute to superior problem-solving and help bridge the skills gap. As the relationship between women, cannabis, and technology grows, so does the cannabis industry—a common mission for all of us.”

Amatelli believes that to positively impact gender equality in cannabis, it is important to “spread love and support for women-owned cannabis businesses.” Following women-owned businesses and sellers on social media platforms and buying products from their companies is a great way to show your support. But she says one of the most beneficial ways to influence gender equality in cannabis is to hire and promote women from within. “Create flexible job applications and part-time roles that help women with children,” she says. “we can do this!”

Photo provided by Jill Ellsworth

Jill Ellsworth

Founder and CEO of Willow Industries

Willow Industries is the industry leader in cannabis killing and post-harvest microbial decontamination technology using an organic, ozone-based technology that reduces or eliminates contaminants from cannabis while protecting the medicinal properties of the plant. The Denver-based company has been named one of the 5000’s Corporation Fastest growing private company in America two years in a row and recognized among the 50 Best Companies in 2022 financial timesList of fastest growing companies in the Americas. Fueled by her passion for innovation and dedication to health, the founder Jill Ellsworth Work in the field of finding solutions for a better life.

For years, cannabis has helped Ellsworth “smooth out the emotional ups and downs of being a CEO, without, unlike alcohol, being fueled by it.” When you need to feel “Zen” but still function, Ellsworth reaches for low-THC products.

Ellsworth founded Willow in 2015 and says at the time, “there were very few women in the industry who represented technology — especially hardware.” But she believes this gave her a “competitive edge” at the time.

“Over time, it’s been really encouraging to see more women entering this industry as leaders and founders of tech companies, and I know we’ll see less of the gender disparity as the industry matures,” says Ellsworth. “However, it takes women to step into the light and be confident that they can cut through a male-dominated industry. No one will give you that confidence. Have the strength and fortitude to put yourself out there, and if you radiate that confidence, people will follow.”

Ellsworth says she believes to see more progress in overcoming gender bias, women should “continue to stand up for themselves” and that “no one will see your great achievement if you don’t promote yourself.” Persevere. “Don’t give up and don’t give up,” says Ellsworth. If you have a great idea and there is a suitable product/market, then you have to make it happen.”

Ellsworth says we’ll continue to see a “dynamic shift” as more companies bring women into leadership positions. “Gone are the days when only white men made up the executive suites and boardrooms,” she says. “I feel confident companies will start to prioritize female candidates for executive positions, so position yourself.”

Image courtesy of Tracee McAfee

Tracy McAfee

Director and CEO, Cryo Cure

Cryo Cure changes traditional cannabis drying and curing techniques. Revolutionary freeze drying technology Eliminates the water content of cut flowers to keep fragile trichomes and turpentine potency at an optimal moisture level. The system dries and cures cannabis in as little as 13 hours, dramatically reducing processing time from weeks to days. Before founding Cryo Cure, Founder Tracy McAfee He has spent three decades building multi-million dollar brands in the FMCG sector. McAfee’s diverse business background across new market segments provides a unique perspective on building and thriving in the cannabis industry.

“Cannabis doesn’t care about your gender and it shouldn’t matter to others either,” says McAfee, who “loves all aspects of the cannabis plant” and microdoses flower for PTSD and general well-being.

McAfee says she’s been “very lucky not to have experienced sex or age discrimination” in the cannabis industry. It saddens her when she “hears about other women who have had bad experiences in our space.” She recognizes the hardworking women who are making big waves in the field and believes that if you share your “passion, experience, and research with others and they see they know what you’re talking about, respect comes regardless of your gender.”

McAfee recommends using sensitivity and awareness because some of the women who enter this space “may have had a tough time in their previous careers. Give everyone a fresh start and the respect they deserve.”

Above all else, McAfee says she loves paving the way for other women to enter this exciting industry. “Being a leader in technology — and in the cannabis industry — is an honor I carry with pride,” she says.

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