Claiming women are owed after vaulting President Obama into his second term, top activists Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem are demanding that the next Federal Communications Commission chairman be a woman.
Hoping that breaking the FCC's 80-year-old glass ceiling will also shake up the male-dominated media world, the feminists representing the Womens' Media Center said it would help Obama get over the growing image that his inner-circle is limited to white men.
"Women voters provided the margin of victory for you. I ask that you, as president, do what you can to break the glass ceiling at the FCC. Please nominate a woman to head the Federal Communications Commission," said the two along with Robin Morgan in a petition demanding action from the president. All three are founders of the New York City-based Center. They released their petition through the website www.change.org.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski isn't planning on leaving, but there are industry rumors that he will be out by late summer.
The trio took a swipe at Obama's all-male second term nominees. "After an exciting inauguration, attention is turning to the president's appointments for key departments and agencies. He's already nominated four high profile posts with men -- notably, replacing global women's rights advocate Hillary Clinton with Senator John Kerry," said the group.
Says Steinem: "The president has the chance to democratize the FCC, and also to make history at the same time."
Their petition to the president:
Dear President Obama:
We're asking that you nominate a woman for Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. In the nearly 80 years since its creation, there has never been a female Chair of the FCC. The FCC is supposed to represent the American public. Half the public are women. It's long past the time to close the gender gap in our nation's leadership and in the media and telecom industries' leadership, where only 28.4% of TV news directors were women in 2011, according to the Women's Media Center's 2012 Status of Women in the U.S. Media Report. And the post atop the FCC is one of the most important opportunities available to raise the bar for representational diversity and decision-making in the media and telecom sectors, which are the infrastructure of this generation and of the future.
The media business is run by men - and some would argue, for men. Still. In 2013. There is no easy fix. The courts have struck down every attempt to increase female and minority ownership of commercial TV and radio stations. Almost every major telecom company is headed by a man. The glass ceiling is firmly in place in the media and telecom sectors.
The next FCC Chair should remember that she works for the people of this nation, not just for the telecom and media industries. The FCC Chair should promote diversity and work to increase competition in telecommunications and in media.
Women voters provided the margin of victory for you. I ask that you, as President, do what you can to break the glass ceiling at the FCC. Please nominate a woman to head the Federal Communications Commission.