Women continue to be 'significantly underrepresented' in the upper echelons
of the cable and telecommunications industries, according to a new report from
the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
The study found that women account for only 16 percent of top executives at
the nation's largest cable and telecommunications firms and make up only 12
percent of those companies' boards of directors.
Women also are underrepresented, although slightly less so, on the local
level. Only one of every five local cable-system managers is a woman, the report
Susan Ness, a former commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission,
presented the study for the Annenberg Center at a press conference Tuesday in
downtown Washington, D.C. She called the findings 'appalling' and blasted
cable-service providers for perpetuating 'old boys' club' atmospheres.
'With few exceptions, we've not moved beyond the tokenism in the number of
women in leadership positions who are sitting on boards of communications
companies,' Ness said.
Adelphia Communications Corp. and NTL Inc. were singled out for criticism
because neither company has any female executives or board members. 'Both, by
the way, are in bankruptcy,' Ness added.
The study found that Cablevision Systems Corp., Charter Communications Inc.,
Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. had only one woman on their boards of
directors. Charter had just one female executive, Cablevision had two and
Comcast had eight.
Cox, by contrast, was found to be among the industry's leaders with 14 female
executives -- 23 percent of its executive team.
Ness praised the National Cable and Telecommunications Association for
amending its bylaws last year to allow CEOs of programming companies, and not
just operators, to sit on the group's 33-member board of directors. The change
resulted in two women being named to the NCTA board, and a third was added this
States News Service