Jewish World Review Dec. 12, 2002/ 7 Teves, 5763
The "glass ceiling": The bad spin
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | So, how goes the "corporate fight for women"? Not well, at least according to The New York Times.
Catalyst, a research firm, regularly publishes a report on the progress of women in corporate America. The numbers showed impressive gains from the year 2000 to 2002, a period of economic sluggishness. During that period, the percentage of women occupying corporate officer positions rose from 12.5 percent to 15.7 percent, or a 25 percent increase. And in the last seven years, from 1995 to date, the number of women in corporate officer positions has nearly doubled. In real numbers, women now hold 2,140 of the 13,673 top-ranking executive positions at Fortune 500 companies.
It also examines the number of women occupying "positions of clout" at major corporations. "Clout titles" include CEO, chairman, vice chairman, president, chief operating officer, senior executive vice president and executive vice president. In the last seven years, from 1995 to date, the percentage of women occupying clout positions increased a dizzying 400 percent, from 1.9 to 7.9 percent.
Now, many newspaper articles high-fived the achievement, both with positive headlines and lead paragraphs:
Other papers repeated the Associated Press and Knight-Ridder stories, with headlines trumpeting the good news, such as "Report Shows Women's Fortunes Rising at Corporations" in the Charlotte Observer, and "They Are Women, Let's Hear Them Roar" in the Toronto Star.
The Chicago Tribune ran the same Associated Press story as the Los Angeles Times, with the headline: "'02 Good for Women on Top." But then things turned grim, and subsequent Chicago Tribune stories turned sour. A later Trib headline read: "Number of Women in Top Business Ranks Inches Up," followed a week later by "Number of High-Ranking Females Rising Slowly." Same newspaper, same information, decidedly different slant.
This brings us to the New York Times, about which Bernard Goldberg, in his book "Bias," said, "The (New York) Times is a newspaper that has taken the liberal side of every important social issue of our time, which is fine with me. But if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don't have a clue."
The New York Times currently, for example, leads the charge to force the private golf course, Augusta National, to admit a female. Even though polls show that over 70 percent of women register indifference about the issue, the New York Times, from three months ago to date, ran 57 articles, columns or editorials about the "controversy." Just by contrast, the Washington Post ran 33 articles, and the Los Angeles Times 38. Can you say agenda?
So how did the New York Times, as well as some other papers, greet the latest report on the tremendous progress of women in corporate America?
New York Times headline: "Number of Women in Upper Ranks Rises a Bit." First paragraph: "A survey of executive and high-earning corporate women being published today shows percentage gains so small as to seem inconsequential (emphasis added), but for one thing: They were achieved during a recession, when many businesses were cutting back."
I told my female assistant about the Times article. She said, "Who wrote it?"
"Someone named Mary Williams Walsh," I replied.
"Stereotypical women," she huffed, "can't handle the math."
To repeat, my assistant said that.
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