Here’s the good news: Our annual list of the Most Powerful Women in Cable is bigger than ever—and that’s because so many women have ascended to influential roles within the industry. The bad news? As we all know from WICT and NAMIC’s most recent joint workplace diversity survey, red flags abound when it comes to talent retention and advancement to the most senior positions. On the tech side, fewer women cable engineers and techies are in the business now than 30 years ago. And that was the Ron Burgundy era. Geez.
So what’s going on? Why the paradox? It’s just… unsettling.
Journalists and politicians like clear trends that support a thesis. For journalists, it’s all about finding the “angle” of the story. For politicians, it’s about determining whether the government needs to step in to “encourage” a more fair system or simply let the free market work its magic. But here’s the truth: There’s no black and white here. No clear thesis. No definitive free market or government answer. In the end, diversity and the advancement of women in business comes down to people and their ultimate intentions. Either those in power are making an effort to seek out the best candidates regardless of race or gender—or they just can’t be bothered. It’s as simple as that.
It’s true that few other industries do so much to advance the interests of female and minority execs than cable. But it’s really up to everyone from the top CEOs to the middle managers to the journalists to the policymakers to the thought leaders to the celebrities to the trendsetters and beyond to keep attention on these issues—whether or not it coincides with Diversity Week. Strides continue. But we could always do better. Cable’s continued willingness to take an honest look at itself—warts and all—remains a huge positive that keeps us all moving forward. And women in cable continue to make career progress based on their contributions and tireless work ethic.
Speaking of tireless work ethic, I need to thank the woman without whom this magazine simply wouldn’t come together every year, and that’s its managing editor Cathy Applefeld Olson. Once I’ve finalized the list, she’s the one who manages the day-to-day with the writers and helps ensure the integrity of hundreds of profiles that appear in these pages each year. Thanks, Cathy. And thanks to all the women of cable who make this industry better every day.