It’s that time of year again when cable highlights opportunities for women in the business, hence our extended look at the most influential women (page 20). We’re only a bit removed from Diversity Week, when opportunities for women and minorities were discussed.

The relatively quiet rumble from Diversity Week was that just 14 companies participated in NAMIC’s employment survey, an “embarrassing” figure, one CEO says. Several companies that participated in 2004 didn’t this year, making it impossible for comparisons between the 2004 and 2006 studies.

Executives have complained that the process is too cumbersome; others say it’s not well prepared and will not provide useful data. We’re told the new head of the Kaitz Foundation, David Porter, will be working with NCTA members and NAMIC to rectify the situation. We’ll be looking for results next year.

Fortunately, WICT’s fourth PAR Initiative Survey, whose results will be released prior to this week’s WICT Gala in Washington, D.C., is in better condition. Forty-four companies participated, up from 33 last year; 14 have taken the survey all four years. Among the reasons the PAR Survey is growing is that WICT, wisely, markets it as more than a survey.

Once companies respond to its 110 questions they are visited by an employee from Working Mother magazine, which has prepared all four PARs. The employee has also been constant for four years, allowing her to delve deeper into a participating company’s answers, seeking trends and best practices. Participating companies also meet with a Working Mother rep this week in Washington to discuss PAR results.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that PAR results in “best places to work” lists that are displayed at this week’s gala. “No CEO wants to sit at the dinner and not see his/her company on one of those lists,” says a CEO whose company routinely makes the cut. It seems WICT has tapped into cable’s natural competitiveness.

A new WICT initiative, the Tech It Out Program that’s announced on page 42 of this magazine, will apply some of the PAR principles to encourage women to join cable’s tech sector. Here’s hoping the competitive fires will continue to burn. Check out the rest of CableWorld’s 2006 Most Powerful Women issue – click here.

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