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WICT Gala to Focus on Gender Equality

Nov 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

At 152 million strong, women represent 51% of the total population of the United States.
What’s more, their buying power is tremendous. Women control more than 80% of all consumer purchases and often are called “Chief Purchasing Officers,” according to a recent report from Horizon Media.
Despite that buying clout, the historical pay gap between men and women still exists. But it’s shrinking: In the early ’70s, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. In 2006 that figure was 81 cents.
That’s one of the many reasons work remains to be done in fostering true equality between the sexes. The organization Women in Cable Telecommunications exists to promote diversity in the TV business and provide educational and leadership training for women.
The group’s centerpiece fund-raising initiative, the WICT Foundation Benefit Gala, is slated for Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington. It will be the organization’s 23rd annual event. The 2006 event drew nearly 1,100 attendees and raised more than $1.9 million for the WICT Foundation.
Star Jones of Court TV will emcee this year’s event. At the dinner, WICT will present its 2007 Accolades, its most prestigious awards. Lynn Yaeger, executive VP of corporate affairs at Time Warner Cable, will receive the Woman of the Year award, and Wonya Lucas, executive VP and general manager for the Weather Channel Networks, will receive the Woman to Watch honor.
In the past year, WICT has been working to build its membership. The group has increased its ranks by 20% so far this year, passing the 6,000-member milestone for the first time. WICT now counts more than 6,500 members.
Much of the money raised at the gala funds WICT’s annual “PAR” initiative, which assesses the state of the business for women, from entry-level posts up to senior management. The study evaluates pay, advancement and where women work, said Benita Fitzgerald Mosely, president and CEO of WICT.
“It shares best practices among companies and gives us a scorecard for the industry every year, and each company gets their own,” she said. “If you’re not measuring your programs and what’s happening in the industry, it’s hard to know what to do. So we use this data as a jumping-off point for the programs we design [and] the work we do for women.”
The most recent study found that few women work in technology. “That’s why it is important, as cable operators move into wireless and phones and DVRs and digital, and as they are looking for the smartest minds to put forth and apply to these problems and issues, we need to shine a spotlight on this area where they need to recruit more people, more women,” Ms. Fitzgerald Mosely said.
Women tend to crowd into certain divisions, such as human resources or public relations. But many of the core skills for those jobs—including communicating and dealing with people—are easily transferable to other posts in a company, such as a VP of business development, she said.
Ms. Fitzgerald Mosely encourages women to break out of the box and look for new opportunities. “Never take a job you are qualified for,” she said. “Have less trepidation and see it as an opportunity to learn something new. Be unafraid to apply for jobs outside of your comfort zone.”
Women need to engineer their own opportunities, said Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development at CBS Television Distribution. The studio boasts female executive producers on three of its shows: Carla Pennington on “Dr. Phil,” Janet Annino on “Rachael Ray” and Linda Bell Blue on “Entertainment Tonight”/“The Insider.”
“We focus too much on ‘Are we having opportunities?’ And we should focus more on what impact we should have,” Ms. Wood said. “It’s about your work, the impact you are having with your content.”
WICT FOUNDATION BENEFIT GALAWhat: Annual fund-raiser for Women in Cable Telecommunications
Where: Grand Hyatt, Washington, D.C.
When: Nov. 15
Emcee: Star Jones
Details: wict.org

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