March 8, 2001
I am pleased to offer a few remarks on this auspicious occasion. First, I want to thank the Office of Workplace Diversity for organizing this event today. It is most important that we use these opportunities to reflect on our progress and consider our continued goals.
I would also like to take this opportunity to let you all know that I am so very proud of those of you working here at the Commission. You are truly among the best and brightest, and it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you over the last seven years. I know I have said that before at Commission meetings, but it bears repeating.
As I mentioned in my remarks this time last year, although we have seen women advance in their careers as the years pass, women still are grossly underrepresented at the highest levels of corporate America - especially women of color. The numbers are startling, and what is worse, few people realize there is a problem.
Here at the FCC, women have enjoyed considerable success. During my seven years as a commissioner, I have been proud to serve with an extraordinary group of women in top level positions within this agency. We have enjoyed a record number of women bureau chiefs, the first two women to serve as Chief of Staff for the Chairman, and the opportunity to have two of five commissioners as women. Hopefully, this trend will continue, but such is not assured.
We are also beginning to see women who are entrepreneurs apply in greater and greater numbers for far too few communications licenses.
Another piece of good news - there appears to be an awakening over the last few months - a growing realization that there are so few women who are executives within the industries we oversee. Women are recognizing there is a problem and are beginning to do something about it.
For example, The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has scheduled a press conference next Wednesday morning at 8:30 A.M. at the National Press Club, to release a study it conducted on the number of women who serve in key leadership positions within the communications industry. I don't want to step on its news, so it will suffice to say that the statistics are sobering.
I would hope that as we increase the number of women at the top levels of corporate America and in public policy roles, we will see throughout these organizations a growing recognition of the need to make the workplace hospitable to women. This often translates into establishing policies and a culture that recognizes that workers, including women, have families and responsibilities outside of the workplace. And that such responsibilities can be made totally consistent with top performance within the workplace - if managers and coworkers just care to do so. Think about it.
Let me conclude by again thanking everyone for taking time from your daily tasks to be here today - to recognize the achievement of women in the past and to celebrate our future successes.