| March 10, 2020 | |

A Women’s History Month Special Report

March marks Women’s History Month and also International Women’s Day (March 8) – an appropriate time to examine the cable industry’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusion in its workforce.

An industry-wide survey released last fall found that women make up 33% of the overall cable industry workforce (cable providers and programmers), down 0.2% since the 2017 survey. That number also remains below the national benchmark. The industry recognizes that improvement is needed and is dedicating the resources to achieve it.

One of the biggest advocates for women in the cable industry is the national organization Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), which also has a chapter in Texas, WICT Greater Texas. In addition, each Texas Cable Association member – Altice USA (Suddenlink), Cable One (Sparklight), Charter Communications (Spectrum) and Comcast (Xfinity) – has its own initiatives.

Every two years, WICT partners with the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) to conduct research surveys – WICT’s PAR (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities, and Resources for Work/Life Integration) Initiative and NAMIC’s AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) – to compile a joint Workplace Diversity Survey.

Among the highlights of the 2019 survey, as it pertains to women:

  • A rise to 35% for women who hold executive and senior-level manager positions, which is 5% higher than the national benchmark (30%).
  • Higher promotion and hiring rates for women overall which exceeded hiring rates of men by 9%.

See what WICT and NAMIC leaders had to say about the latest 2019 PAR Initiative survey results.

In between survey years, WICT runs programs across the industry to help keep PAR and the best practices for gender diversity and inclusion top of mind. Learning webinars, papers on best practices and success cases from PAR all serve as teaching opportunities for the industry.

In March 2019, WICT celebrated its 40th anniversary by unveiling its #LeadWithMore campaign to recognize women’s achievements and to encourage gender diversity in business. The campaign included a 30-second public service announcement to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Broadband and entertainment leaders including Texas Cable Association members Comcast NBC Universal and Charter Communications supported the effort.

Here’s a look at some of what TCA’s member companies are doing regarding gender diversity and inclusion:

    • Altice USA provides Suddenlink services in Texas and has about 16,000 employees, of which about 34.7% are women. Altice USA created its Diversity & Inclusion program in 2018. Part of its initiative included the creation of seven dedicated “affinity groups,” including the HER Impact Network to provide “exposure, opportunity, and advocacy to advance the representation and impact of women at Altice USA.” Altice USA executive vice president for government and community affairs and chief diversity officer, Lee Schroeder, was honored with WICT’s Woman of the Year – Operator award in 2019. She shared her thoughts on Altice USA’s diversity efforts in an interview last fall with Cablefax magazine. Schroeder also serves on WICT’s board of directors.
    • Cable One, which provides Sparklight services in Texas, has a 2,000 employee workforce that is about 40.8% female. Juli Blanda, general manager for the Texas Coast Operations of Sparklight, is chair of the Texas Cable Association and a member and board officer of WICT Greater Texas, which named her its 2015 Rising Star. Blanda was profiled in TCA’s February newsletter. Cable One is also the only TCA member company led by a woman. Julie Laulis joined the organization in 1999 as a director of marketing and was named president and chief executive officer in 2017. In 2018, she was named chair of the board. With the appointment of two female board members in 2019, the Cable One board is now 50% female. And Cable One focuses on developing its workforce.

      Tina Evangelista, Cable One’s vice president of human resources and WICT Board member runs the Cable One Human Resources department, which works to ensure its talent acquisition pipelines have a diverse slate of candidates. Associates also are offered numerous free, online training and development programs, in addition to a robust tuition reimbursement program. Over the past three years, Cable One has provided more than $315,000 in tuition to its women associates, resulting in technical certifications, as well as bachelors and master’s degrees from universities across the U.S. Additionally, the department has partnered with marketing to develop customer- and associate-facing content focused on gender, people of color, and veterans. This year, Cable One expanded this effort to include a series of internal discussions, including one focused on Women’s History Month.

      Furthermore, in order to ensure continuous improvement in how it supports associates, Cable One in 2019 participated in the WICT/NAMIC diversity survey to understand how it compares against industry peers. It is currently reviewing the results to identify areas in which it excels, but more importantly where there are opportunities to improve.

    • Charter Communications employs about 91,500 individuals, of which about 42.4% are female. The company’s External Diversity and Inclusion Council, which first met in 2018, is a group of individuals from outside of the company who are helping Charter find new and better ways to enhance diversity and inclusion across the company. In 2016, Charter created a new executive position to promote diversity, hiring Rhonda Crichlow as the company’s first chief diversity officer and a senior vice president. Crichlow also serves on WICT’s board of directors.
    • Comcast NBCUniversal reports that women represented 35% of its workforce in 2018, the latest data available. The company has set an aspirational goal of achieving a workforce that is 50% women at every level. Also in 2018, 39% of Comcast employees at the vice president level and above were women, a 70% increase in the number of women at that level since 2010.Comcast takes the opportunity during Women’s History Month to celebrate a few women leaders in the company by sharing their views about the role of women in technology. This year the Comcast is shining the spotlight on Stephanie Brown, vice president, finance and accounting; Cyndy Garza Roberts, director, community impact; and Lavone Jones, vice president, human resources.Comcast was named the #1 company in WICT’s Top Companies for Women to Work based on the results of the 2019 PAR Employment Survey. Comcast will be honored in April for this designation. Comcast also received the 2019 Diversity Champion Award from the Walter Kaitz Foundation in recognition of “the company’s thoughtful and inclusive leadership in an environment in which diversity flourishes.” Learn more about Comcast’s values and inclusion programs related to advancing women leaders in its workforce.

Learn more about WICT and WICT Greater Texas and hear from WICT Greater Texas President Nikia Farria Green.

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