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Study: glass ceiling hardly shattered

Women occupy only small percentage of 'clout' titles

WASHINGTON — Few women hold keys to media companies’ executive suites and boardrooms, according to a study released Wednesday by the U. of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Study reports that women fill only the tiniest percentage of “clout” titles in the nation’s leading media/entertainment companies — titles like chair, CEO, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or prexy.

Several panelists convened in Washington to discuss the study, which found that women make up only 13% of top executives at media, telecom and e-commerce companies, and only 9% of the boards of directors.

“I read it trying to find good news, and I couldn’t, not one glimmer, even though it’s such an old issue,” said former AT&T prexy-CEO Leo Hindery Jr. “It’s patently unfair.”

Turning to media/entertainment congloms specifically, the study found that only 10% of top execs are women, on average.

Many of those execs are in traditionally female-oriented divisions, such as corporate communications and human resources. Women also have made strong advances in governmental relations.

Companies listed included AOL Time Warner, General Electric, News Corp., USA Networks, Viacom and the Walt Disney Co.

Significant drops

Turning to “clout” titles, the numbers dropped precipitously, with few women situated in the upper realms, the Annenberg report stated.

Study was based on a survey of corporate listings.

“As we enter the 21st century, it is astounding how few women are at the helm of top communications and media firms,” said FCC commissioner Susan Ness, who took an active role in the study.

The reason? Men do business with people they know — mostly men, said Shooting Star Broadcasting prexy-CEO Diane Sutter.

Annenberg study called for companies to do more in the way of mentoring and training, as well as conducting a new examination of internal practices.

Those congloms have long had in place programs to help women break the glass ceiling, the report noted.

Also, trade associations should identify successful training programs that member companies might adopt, it added.

Trade associations for media congloms themselves took a hit in the study, with women comprising only 17% of the boards of directors.

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