As recently revealed, the issue of female executives is still relevant. After Arianna Huffington left her post as editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post, that she co-founded in 2005, many were baffled, and returned to the question of the place of women in the field of digital media today.


Crux Of The Problem

The lack of female CEOs has become more visible, because not so long ago this old stereotyped system has been changed. In the first decade of the 2000s big companies like Time Inc., The New York Times Co., NPR, the Fairchild Publications division of Condé Nast and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, former Financial Times parent Pearson had female CEOs. But, apparently, the situation remained so a short time. Ann Moore left Time Inc. in 2010 after eight years as CEO. Janet Robinson was CEO of The New York Times Co. from 2004 through 2011. Vivian Schiller served as NPR’s first female CEO from 2009 to 2011. «It’s absolutely something I think about often,» – said Brit Morin, an exception as CEO of Brit & Co., the media and e-commerce company she founded. «Just like all other industries, the media industry has historically been run by men». Let’s look at the current picture.

Percentage Of Managers Who Are Women


All of the aforementioned media is now under the leadership of men. The Huffington Post’s CEO right now is a male (Jared Grusd), just like in Time Inc., The New York Times Co., Condé Nast, Hearst Corp., Bloomberg Media, The Financial Times, Guardian Media Group, Dow Jones, Forbes Media, BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice Media, Mashable, Fusion, Mic and Business Insider and more others. Even some of the digital media, where the target audience is mostly women, are under the direction of men: Bustle, Refinery29, PopSugar and PureWow. Some worried about the success of such business, but apparently they have no problems with the development.


Causes And Effects

It is difficult to name the causes of the situation at once. Ms. Morin called it «a funnel problem more than anything». Appointment to the post of CEO solved by directorial boards that, ironically, are often made up mostly of men. But as practice shows, not all that bad. Paula Kerger has led PBS since 2006. Mary Berner is Cumulus Media’s CEO. Maria Rodale of Rodale and Pamela Wasserstein of New York Media run family-controlled media companies.

As for the last two – here the situation is twofold. Ms. Rodale said to AdAge: «Being part of a family business, I had the advantage of opportunities not available to other women on their own, but it also came with an additional struggle to overcome the perception of nepotism». Ms. Wasserstein said her company is more female than male, with senior management roughly split by gender. She also mentioned that made different steps to counter the perception that career advancement and family do not go hand in hand. «I have two little kids, and I bring them to the office sometimes. I want people here to know that you can be in a leadership position here and also have small kids».


Silicon Valley Lags Behind In Gender Equality
It seems that Ms. Schiller is right and «the more women CEOs there are, the more women CEOs there will be». It’s easier to show that a woman at the helm and is competitive as any man. Women tend to get rid of sexism in the professional field, working on bringing up the next generation, and modeling what a female executive is.

Some people believe that the role of venture capitalists means a lot. A great number of companies and startups takes money from a pool of investors that skews male. Ms. Morin said: «When VCs are male, they are inherently more biased to fund companies catered toward a male consumer as well. Of course, that’s not true 100% of the time, as Brit & Co. has several male investors, but there is certainly a bias in the market that I’ve had to overcome».


More Opinions

Lerer Hippeau Ventures Managing Partner Ben Lerer expressed the opinion: «We see many more male founders, but my guess is this is slowly (probably very slowly) shifting. We don’t discuss diversity when assessing a deal unless it’s relevant to the specific company for some reason, but I can personally say that backing founders with diverse backgrounds and experiences is a plus for me, but not something that would ever lead to us doing or not doing a deal».

According to’s co-founder – Melissa Bell, – women go through some particular experiences that could «allow that diversity to surface in business decisions and hiring decisions and the approach». But she correctly noted, women can not take all the CEO positions. It will not solve the problem in the world.


Women Executives. Digital Media

To make it clear that women are also successful and in demand in the post as head of the firm, it is enough to recall the most promising digital media companies were started by women. TheSkimm, whose co-founders and co-CEOs, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, recently raised $8 million from investors. The Information was started by a female journalist, CEO Jessica Lessin.

Erika Nardini, the former AOL CMO who runs the bro-approved Barstool Sports, believe that there will be more women moving up through midlevel management. Media sphere is such a place where communication and connection skills in great request. «Women excel at this».

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