It’s no secret there’s a lack of female leadership at the top of many industries. Roles in technology, finance, and political fields have been trying to get more women in positions for years. But what about media, one of the most popular industries for women? There surely must be some representation there. We read magazines, watch movies, click on websites all dedicated to our female interests. We know friends who work in the industry. It only makes sense that a woman is running the show right? Wrong.
The media industry is extraordinarily complex, with mergers and buyouts, print magazines, newspapers and new media sites are owned by overarching corporations, which makes it all the more difficult to decipher who’s really in the corner office.
Take for example, classic magazines like Cosmo, The Atlantic, Vogue and Vanity Fair:
Vogue is a Conde Nast publication. Vogue’s head #girlboss in charge is Anna Wintour, but Conde Nast has chairman Charles H. Townsend and CEO Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. Once again, a #girlboss in charge of oversight of the publication, but not the overall business. Glass ceiling hasn’t been smashed yet.
Vanity Fair, also owned by Conde Nast, isn’t breaking any barriers either. The Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter reports to the same Conde Nast chairman Charles H. Townsend and CEO Robert A. Sauerberg Jr. as Anna Wintour.
Organizational structures for online-only publications are sometimes more cut-and-dry, but the technology factor (a male-driven field) contributes to a skew toward male leadership.
For example, Buzzfeed News/Entertainment co-founders and CEOs are Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson. Similar for Refinery29: two co-founders and CEOs, both male, Philippe Von Borries and Justin Stefano. Bustle also has a male founder and CEO, Byran Goldberg.
But, good news: A newer startup daily email newsletter, the Skimm, has two female co-founders Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin.
Of course, not everything in the online world is easy; Slate, owned by The Slate Group, which is owned by Graham Holdings Co. does have a female Editor-in-Chief, Julia Turner. But Slate’s president is Keith Hernandez and The Slate Group’s chairman and editor-in-chief is Jacob Weisberg. So, again, while the editor-in-chief is a woman she still answers to two men.
How empowering can women’s media be if a large percentage of the decision-makers are men?
Luckily we have Lala cofounders, Katherine and Molly in our corner, leading women’s media by example.