The Women’s Media Center wants President Obama to choose a female nominee to replace FCC chairman Julius Genachowskiafter, who announced his resignation Friday. If Obama follows that advice, it would be the first time a woman would hold the post.
In a letter to the president, center leaders said a female FCC chief would help give women more power in a male-dominated field:
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…
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 New York Times speculates that Obama may appoint sitting FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn as interim chair. The list of possible permanent replacements includes at least two women: Clyburn and Karen Kornbluh, an aide to Obama when he was in the Senate.