Most Powerful Women
The 2011 Power List of Women in Cable

Every year as we compile the Most Powerful Women issue, we’re tempted to once again point out the struggles women in cable continue to face. But let’s take a step back: Things are improving. The process has been slow — sometimes painfully slow — but it’s a process nonetheless. Consider some stats from the WICT-NAMIC survey released during Diversity Week last month:

In 2011, 20% of cable’s corporate board members were women, which while still too low compares with only 16% for Fortune 500 organizations. Here cable is ahead of most industries.

The number of women in executive and senior-level executive positions rose from 25% in 2009 to 30% in 2011. That’s quite a leap in two short years.

In 2011, nearly a third of the 10% highest paid employees were women. Programmers do better here with 32% vs. operators’ 25%. Let’s hope this number rapidly approaches a more appropriate 50% in the coming years as more women move up the ladder and replace some of the old guard.

Of course, hurdles remain. For example, the WICT-NAMIC study pointed out that the percentage of digital media executives — arguably the industry’s future as more content moves to non-traditional platforms — has declined on average five points to 31%. Sadly, this decline stemmed from the operator side where the percentage dropped from 31% in 2009 to 21% in 2011. Programmers actually grew this percentage from 37% to 40% over the same period. In partnership with WICT, we’re proud to highlight some of these smart and savvy Women in Tech on page 38, by the way.

So the industry has much work to do. But women continue to advance as their insight and perspective adds immeasurable strength and resilience to an increasingly competitive industry. “There are more women heading programming groups than ever before, and on the operations side we are seeing women moving up the ranks,” AETN pres/CEO Abbe Raven told us in these pages. “There is always room for progress, but I am optimistic we are headed in the right direction.” She’s right. And as we compile this publication every year, it’s such a treat to see all sides of the incredible women who adorn these pages. In fact, asked to name their greatest achievement, many of our Most Powerful Women cited their families first. “On a personal level, giving birth to my son in the back of a NYC taxi cab during a rain- storm remains a favorite proud moment,” said MTV Networks’ Tanya Giles. “After that, I learned how to roll with the punches, no matter what.” Let’s face it, guys. That’s serious moxy. And we need more of it in cable.

On a final note—and speaking of smart and capable women—a big thanks to contributing editor Cathy Applefeld Olson, who has taken over the managing editor role for Cablefax: The Magazine, and who continues to be invaluable. We couldn’t do it without her. But when it comes to the contributions of women, what else is new?

Michael Grebb Editor

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