|Letter Signed by Leaders of Women’s Organizations Sent to White House on Nomination of the Next Chair of the FCC
The Women’s Media Center sent a petition to the White House with signatures from the leaders of more than 2 dozen influential women’s rights organizations urging the President to appoint the first woman chair of the FCC in its 80-year history.
The full text of the letter is as follows. A downloadable PDF version is also available.
For more information, contact Rachel Larris, communications manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-587-1625
March 22, 2013
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We’re writing to make sure that with all that crosses your desk, you see a piece of good news. The best qualified candidates to chair the Federal Communications Commission are all women. You will be able make good policy and good history at the same time.
You have the chance to democratize the media with one key appointment when you nominate the next Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. We are writing to urge you to pick a woman.
This would be a truly historic appointment. There has never been a female chair of the Federal Communications Commission and a woman chair would go far to making women more visible and powerful in the media and technology.
As we step into 2013, women are still underrepresented in the leadership of America’s media and its technology industries. Women hold only 6 percent of all TV and radio station licenses and under one-third of TV news directors are women. Of top executives working for technology companies just over 5 percent are women. Media companies have some of the most powerful resources at their disposal in shaping attitudes and culture. And as the Internet transforms American media and telecommunications, it has become central to the nation’s competitiveness as well as the future of culture, news, and communication.
A number of well-qualified candidates are reported by The National Journal to be under consideration for the top job at the FCC, including former OECD Ambassador, Karen Kornbluh, current FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, Clinton administration FCC executives Susan Ness and Cathy Sandoval.
While there is no easy fix to getting women into the top jobs in the telecom and media industries, the government watchdog can and should be headed by a woman. The FCC holds broad regulatory power over the most important media, communications, and technology companies in the United States. Plus, there is a powerful “bully pulpit” effect to having women at the head of this agency.
You earned the majority of the women’s vote because you represented views on issues from violence against women to pay equity. In your second term you can demonstrate your commitment to equality in leadership in a different but equally important area of the federal government, oversight of the media and telecom industries.
The FCC’s broad regulatory authority over huge swaths of the U.S. economy makes it a very powerful government agency and over the next year it will face a series of critical decision points – from how to structure a complex wireless spectrum auction to how to respond to an anticipated decision in a legal challenge over its authority to enforce its “Open Internet” rules. In addition, it must decide how to help improve broadband speed, service, and pricing in the United States when its rules are under pressure from industry. In the late 1990s the US had the highest broadband speeds and penetration rates of almost anywhere but today the U.S. comes in sixteenth and the average U.S. cost per megabit per second is several times that in South Korea, France, and the UK.
The next FCC chair must be someone who is willing to put the public’s interests first and work to ensure that American businesses and workers have the tools they need to ensure U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century. Consumers want an independent FCC chair – not an industry insider – but someone who is willing to put the needs of consumers over the desires of industry executives.
The identity and personal experience of a regulatory chief matters. William Kennard, for example, who was appointed the first African-American chair of the agency by President Bill Clinton, made a top priority of closing the digital divide for African-Americans and for Americans with disabilities. Never in the 80 years of the FCC has a woman of any race or group been its chair, though women have been the nation’s majority for a long time.
The post atop the FCC is one of the most important opportunities available to raise the bar for representational diversity and decision-making in the media and telecom sectors, which are the infrastructure of this generation and of the future.
This petition has already been signed by activists from across the country who agree with us that the time is now for the FCC to be headed by a woman. The time is now.
Siobhan “Sam” Bennett
President & CEO of She Should Run
President of The Women’s Media Center
CEO & Executive Director of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
Madeline Di Nonno
Executive Director of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Chair of the Board of The Women’s Media Center
Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead
Executive Director & CEO of MomsRising
President & CEO of the League of Black Women
Co-Founder of The Women’s Media Center
President & CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt
President and CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative
Director of Women’s Rights Campaigns for Change.org
Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television
President and CEO of The Paley Center for Media
Co-Founder of The Women’s Media Center
President, National Organization for Women Foundation
President & CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women
Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations
President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women
President of the Feminist Majority Foundation
Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine
Co-Founder of The Women’s Media Center
National President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women
Chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus
Stylist, cancer survivor, and ZuriWorks founder Andrene Taylor seeks to educate and unite Black women by launching “Big Chop to Stop Cancer.” This national campaign encourages education about cancer and early detection, while owning a major statement among Black women by cutting their hair in solidarity with those who are battling cancer. Follow the link to learn more about “Big Chop to Stop Cancer:”
“I hope that one day my job isn’t necessary,” Angela Roseboro, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, says in the recent issue of The Network Journal magazine, which names its 25 Most Influential Black Women of 2013. Get to know these women at http://www.tnj.com/25-Influential-black-women/2013.
Any business that expects to thrive knows that a good succession plan is key. With its announcement last month that Flowers Communications Group has named Rashada Whitehead Chief Executive Officer, the Chicago-based agency’s future is indeed bright.
As the firm’s president for the past two years, Whitehead, AGE, has helped position FCG for growth into the mid-sized market and as a leader in the next era of communications.
“We’ve worked diligently to position ourselves at the forefront of strategy and creativity, and are excited about what the future holds,” said Whitehead, who replaces D. Michelle Flowers Welch, also the firm’s founder.
A shared vision among leadership is also paramount to a good succession plan.
“For the past several years, I have been focused on building FCG’s legacy of excellence in the communications industry with a solid team to evolve the thought leadership, creativity and relevant multicultural insights that represent our brand,” said Welch.
With the succession, Whitehead has gained an equity stake in the company, whose major clients include McDonald’s, Sears Holding Corp and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
If you missed the LBW Global Leadership Education Webinar “The Importance of Women Supporting Women” with Cynthia Sims, you can still hear it by clicking here.
We’re in unprecedented times. More women are in the workplace than ever before. However, many women are not reaping their fair share of the gains. What as women can we do to address this situation? This session will provide 10 supportive actions you can take to pave the way for women to achieve greater success in the workplace.
Cynthia is Director of Learning and Performance at a Fortune 500 corporation in the financial and insurance services industry. She leads e-learning for 24,000 new and experienced sales force members. In 2012, Training Magazine ranked her organization’s training functions 19th within the Top 125. In 2011 Cynthia was featured in Who’s Who in Black Columbus, Ohio. Cynthia is pursuing her doctorate in organizational leadership at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she is studying the leadership and business practices of women entrepreneurs. She has a master’s in education from Harvard University and a bachelor’s of science from Lake Forest College. She is an empty nester who enjoys living at Buckeye Lake outside Columbus, Ohio . For more information about Cynthia, she invites you to access her blog, Leadership in Your Image at http://cynthiamsims.wordpress.com.
At the age of 30, Serena Williams has won her 5th Wimbledon Grand Slam title for a total of 14 Grand Slam single titles. In the last two years, Serena has dealt with a series of health issues that led to many disappointments. But on July 7, 2012, at Wimbledon’s Women’s Finals, Serena defeated Agnieszka Radwanska (1-6, 7- 5, 2-6 ), proving that she still has what it takes to win. Later that same day, Serena teamed up with sister Venus Williams to win their 14th Grand Slam doubles title. The Williams sisters have made their mark on the tennis courts and earned a place in history.
How will you be affected by the Affordable Care Act?
On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law. The decision was a major victory for President Barack Obama and reform advocates, but what does it mean for you? Find out for yourself. Watch this video to get the facts.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012
FACT SHEET: The Affordable Care Act: Secure Health Coverage for the Middle Class
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses. This law was also specifically designed to give States the resources and flexibility they need to tailor their approach to their unique needs. With the uncertainty about the Court’s decision behind us, it’s now time to focus on implementing this law in a smart and non-bureaucratic way that works for the middle class.
Benefits and Protections for the Middle Class: The Affordable Care Act includes numerous provisions to keep health care costs low, promote prevention, and hold insurance companies accountable. If you’re one of the 250 million Americans who already have health care – whether through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid – the Affordable Care Act is already making your coverage more secure.
- Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your child coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or charge women more than men.
- Over 86 million Americans have gained from coverage of preventive care free of charge, like mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
- Nearly 13 million Americans will receive a rebate this summer because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
- The law has already helped 5.3 million seniors and people with disabilities save an average of over $600 on prescription drugs in the “donut hole” in Medicare coverage.
- The law’s provisions to strengthen and protect Medicare by fighting fraud will continue.
- The law has helped 6.6 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, including 3.1 million young people who are newly insured.
If you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from. If you need care, you will finally have the same opportunity to get quality, affordable coverage as everyone else.
Coverage for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions: A major impact of the Court’s decision is that 129 million people with pre-existing conditions will have the security of affordable health coverage. Starting in 2014, insurance companies can no longer charge you more, carve out benefits, or deny you coverage altogether because you have cancer or diabetes or simply because you are a woman. To make these protections affordable, people with and without pre-existing conditions should be insured, since everyone at some time needs health care.
Tax Credits for Middle Class Families and Small Businesses: Millions of Americans will soon be eligible for tax credits to ensure that their health insurance is affordable. Under today’s ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice. If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable. But starting in 2014, if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free. The Court’s ruling today allows Congress to hold the projected 1% of Americans who will be able to afford health insurance but will choose not to buy it responsible for that choice. Many small businesses are already receiving tax credits so they can afford to offer quality health care to their employees. To date, 360,000 businesses that employ 2 million workers have already benefitted from the small business tax cuts in the law. And once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, about 18 million individuals and families will get tax credits for health insurance coverage averaging about $4,000 apiece.
Support for State Implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges: With the uncertainty of the Court decision behind us, we will step up our work with States to implement Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Exchanges are new marketplaces, starting in 2014, that will allow individuals and small businesses to compare and choose private health plans. Each State will take the lead in designing its own menu of options. Already, 34 States including the District of Columbia have received 100 percent Federally funded grants to build Exchanges. The use of Exchange grants includes support for activities related to running Exchanges in their start-up year.
States can also implement their own brand of reform through Innovation Waivers starting in 2017. If States can come up with even better ways of covering people at the same quality and low cost, this law allows them to do so. The Administration supports bipartisan legislation to allow States to start such Waivers in 2014.
Moving Forward, Not Back: No political party has a monopoly on good ideas, and the President will work with anyone to provide basic security for middle class families and end the worst insurance company abuses. But rather than refight old partisan battles by starting over on health care and repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy and creating jobs. Right now, Congress should act on the President’s concrete plans to create an economy built to last by reducing the deficit in a balanced way and investing in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Small Business Administration
Thanks to all who participated in our post-conference survey. Here are comments and a summary of the results.
100 percent said they’d recommend the conference to a colleague or friend
100 percent said the Rosebud Mentor program was a fine demonstration of Black women using the power of their position to advance the next generation.
80 percent said they were very satisfied with their overall experience at the conference. The rest said they were satisfied.
59 percent said they’d be willing to work with LBW to bring your employer on as a corporate sponsor
50 percent said they’d be willing to work on the LBW conference planning committee for 2013.
Which panels/speakers resonated with you the most?
All of the speakers did a great job, but presentations by Madeline Eason, Valorie Burton, and Denise Brooks-Williams were the most beneficial to me. I get the most out of individual presenters that get to the core of delivering what we need to do to enhance our overall professional development. Uplifting messages from the powerful presenters during the meals was the icing on the cake!
There were several workshops on advancing your career in a corporate environment. I found all of those to be helpful, insightful and impactful.
Leadership. In what ways were you called to action?
Thinking more internally about my skills and sharing them by mentoring other young women.
I was truly motivated to raise my status to a position of power.
I am empowered to be the best leader that I can be – Having passion in my chosen career path – Understanding the barriers that can prevent me from achieving my set goals in my career – Importance in balancing your career and family life – It is extremely important to continue to enhance my skill sets in my current role – Leadership from behind: As I excel as a leader I have to remember to pull up the ones behind me and encourage them in their career journey.
“If you’re not at at the table then you’re on the menu.”…..I’ve become more active at pursing opportunities that I WANT to be at the table for.
I’m always reminded of my responsibility to live not just for me, but for others. I see a responsibility for mentee that I was assigned during the conference and have reached out to her to offer full support. I see the plight Black women now as one that needs to be fought for aggressively. We need to prepare a pipeline for those women who are being launched into high profile positions many times without the support of a sponsor.
Provided other women with information from the conference, particularly the Health Equity Quiz which leads to excellent discussion. Will work on the Obama campaign.
My leadership take away was for me to find a mentor and a coach.
To invest more effort into empowering myself.
I have always been aware that managing my career is my responsibility but I was awakened to be a better steward of my responsibility and to actively seek to progress upward based on my tenacity and skill in working my networks and the job market to reach my career goals.
I really enjoyed the discussion regarding health care disparities and how to live life healthier as well as how important it is to understand how to navigate the hospital system to ensure you’re receiving quality care.
Would you like the 2013 conference to be at a resort location or in a major metropolitan area?
Most of you (67 percent) said you would like the 2013 conference to be held at a resort location
Panels and speakers you’d like to see at future conferences
Ursula Burns of Xerox, the only Black female CEO of the Fortune 500
I’d like to see more individualized teaching as opposed to panels.
Mid-management discussion; starting your own business; multi-tasking as a working woman
Michelle Obama; health issues with African American women.
More statistical work like that presented by Dr. Livingston on Black women and then practical ways to change negative statistics.
I like to hear more about women who’ve risen to the top but have fallen and then got back up. Those omen who have rebranded themselves. Like the runner who lost her Olympic medals Marion Anderson.
Would love a forum for aspiring writers to attend since I met a lot of those at the last conference.
A continued focus on Coaching and Mentoring, Black Women and Our Health Concerns, for those seeking career changes what’s new.
I would like to see the economic divide addressed at a future event. Specifically addressing the erosion of Middle Class America and how or what Black women in leadership are doing or can do to address this issue.
Topics: The importance of creating a diverse and inclusive work environment Starting your own business Speakers: Michael Baisden
Students and recent graduates of HBCUs (we’ll call them Rosebuds) were matched with mentors on the spot at the opening reception of the 2012 conference in Destin, Fla.
The LBW thanks all who generously donated to our Rosebud Mentee program and helped them attend the conference all expenses paid. The majority of respondents to our 2012 conference survey said the Rosebud Mentee Program was one of their favorite aspects of the conference. See what else they had to say in our survey summary.
League of Black Women President and CEO Sandra Finley has accepted an invitation from the Union League Club of Chicago to chair its Subcommittee on Race, one of several subcommittees that supports the Club’s public advocacy agenda.
Finley, herself a member of the Union League Club, learned she was recommended by several fellow Club members and says she was delighted to receive news of her appointment.
“The League encourages Black women to become more actively involved in public policy debate and advocacy — an area in which their influence is currently sorely lacking and too often ignored,” Finley says. “The Union League Club is well-respected in Chicago, and I’m honored to be invited to deepen my affiliation with the Club by serving in this important position.”
Founded in 1879, the Union League Club of Chicago is the only private club in the United States that has an institutional commitment to public policy and community service. The Subcommittee on Race comes under the organization’s Public Affairs Committee, which addresses a wide range of public policy issues and serves as the conduit for the Club’s involvement in civic affairs.
The Subcommittee on Race addresses the impact of race and racial disparities on the execution of public policy. The subcommittee also sponsors events featuring prominent speakers. Past forums include a review of civil rights in America on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Kerner Commission and one entitled “From Harold Washington to Barack Obama: Race in Politics Then and Now.”
What public policy issues do you believe need to be addressed to support the leadership ambitions of professional Black women at work, in community and globally? Tell Sandra at email@example.com or post your comment below.