For women by Men.
Because female-identified leaders are still underrepresented in key decision making and board positions across the cannabis space.
Because men continue to believe they’re able to make decisions around female consumer’s needs and wants without including females in these key decisions and development.
Because men - as those who predominantly own and operate cannabis businesses in Canada - seek to benefit from the great contribution of women’s energy and capabilities in the cannabis space, and we need to prioritize space and foster support for female-owned businesses.
At first, High Heels comes off as a bad joke.
The idea was created when three women discussed recent interactions within the cannabis space - experiences pitching their businesses to investors and the general barriers females face in cannabis start-ups across Canada. Some of these barriers are tangible - the increased difficulty securing loans, start up funding and strategic partnership, but others are more invisible and are embedded in larger gender dynamics common across many industries - where women comprise 19.5% of the board members in Canada’s top 500 companies.
High Heels plays off the fundamental lack of gender diversity in the cannabis industry - an ode to over-the-top Cosmo-esq blogs and advice that encourage women to cater to the male gaze. “By men for women” asks readers to consider the often shallow focus on women as a ‘target consumer responsible for purchasing 85% of consumer goods in a household’, rather than as women who embody a range of different experiences, roles and motives; female-identified Canadians are not a homogenous group who thinks and acts in the same way. Further, women should be supported to create businesses that capture some of this through their products and services, identifying needs in an expanding market and filling in those gaps. And to be frank, nothing is more off putting then a group of men making decisions around what products and services in health, wellness and recreation women actually want.
The response to High Heels has been a social experiment in itself - we’re glad women are angry, stepping up and calling out. On the other hand, many of us questioned whether it was real (it isn’t real, right? Please?) - underscoring the belief that this is a real possibility - that a brand like this can emerge in all seriousness. The backlash is a signal that the tides are shifting.
We also understand concerns that this type of satire may never be funny because this type of work draws on experiences which are real to many and have actual consequences for women. Many women are trying to find their voice in the cannabis industry. Our intentions were never to downplay these experiences, but rather to generate conversations specific to some of these challenges, and to consider the often all-male decision making bodies in cannabis businesses.
Further, we want to acknowledge that the hardships faced by women and women-identified leaders are different and diverse. A three-day April fools stunt cannot capture this - and focusing on “women” just doesn’t work anymore when we talk about diversity and inclusion.
Intersectionality, a term coined by Kim Crenshaw, considers various systems of oppression, and how they overlap and are compounded. This means we can’t think of identity - like being female - as additive with other identities, but rather, different identities combine to make a unique experience. Consider this example from the US:
According to this image from the Equal Payback Project, drawing on data by the AAUW, Black and Latina women make less than their white counterparts. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute has said the gap between white women and women of colour is the fastest growing wage gap! We also want to acknowledge that diversity and inclusion also means paying attention to the experiences of marginalized groups, and to take equity more seriously when we make calls to draw attention to the lack of gender diversity in the cannabis space.
Since women make up 50% of the population, High Heels wants to highlight, with a bit of fun, why its critical we access all the leadership talent available in Canadian cannabis (and considering there is a global race to source the best of the best). It’s more than companies simply saying “we’re here for the women” - without putting in the work.
CANNABIS STORIES WOMEN DETEST
We're thrilled to have you join us on our journey of influencing women.
MEET THE TEAM
We Made This for You
A LEADING MEDIA PLATFORM FOR GIRLS WHO LOVE CANNABIS.
We are sons, husbands, fathers and successful business men.
FOUNDER & CEO
FOUNDER & COO
We came up with the amazing idea to create a media platform for women because there's a gap in the marketplace for cannabis businesses focussing on women.
It's easy for us men to raise money to launch businesses. Here's some statistics to prove it:
90% of venture funding raised by black women since 2009 went to 34 women.
Since 2009, black women have only raised 0.0006% of the $424.7 billion total tech venture funding.
There are 8 female CEOs and 92 male CEOs in Canadian License Producers.
We ask men to win and women not to lose.
None of Canada's TSX 60 companies were headed by a woman and two-thirds's did not include a single woman in top earners during the 2017 fiscal year.
With the extra money we raised, we launched High Heels for Her for women to talk about weed.
We created a fantastic team. Including, hiring leading female talent and entrepreneurs.
DR. SOPHIA MESSENA
SARAH WHITE, MBA
We believe women are a valuable target market.