Sunday, March 04, 2007

Blame the women

Forum's examination of why there are so few women in leadership positions in Cincinnati follows the tired formula of "get a report, then ask people what they think." The editorial package is tied to last week's release of a report (Enquirer story here) describing how poorly local companies have promoted women into executive positions. The editorial board got advice from women executives on how to succeed, and talked to teenage girls about their aspirations.

The advice is mostly tired old saws like "be yourself." For instance:
In my family, making and keeping commitments, and always telling the truth no matter how dire the seemingly terrible consequences, was an indelible compact. I applied that belief to my career where it worked to my advantage.
Also, the editorial says: "Closing off that corporate suite to 982,800 Greater Cincinnatians - females who go on to comprise more than 58 percent of the local workforce - doesn't make good sense for anybody." That 982,800 figure is a gross exaggeration, a number that appears to include children, senior citizens beyond working age, and women who don't work. The last census said there are about 300,000 women working full time year-round in the region.

The problem with this package is that there are plenty of women out there who do all that stuff -- be true to their values, tell the truth, etc. -- and still can't get promoted because they can't crack this town's old boys' network. The editorial board doesn't bother to ask the heads of companies like Fifth Third, Procter & Gamble or Cincinnati Financial why they don't have more women running those companies. True to its form, the Enquirer's editorial board doesn't want to offend or anger any of this town's powerful people. It's easier and safer to make it look like it's entirely the women's fault that they're not being promoted, that if they would just "be true to themselves etc." one day they'll becomes CEOs. The editorial board doesn't hold accountable those men responsible for promotion decisions at these companies.

An article in Los Angeles magazine says that to save itself, the Los Angeles Times needs to get tough, real tough. "Does anybody fear the Times these days?" the story asks. "(I)t’s time to have some reporters who are licensed to kill." It's the same with the Enquirer. No one is afraid of the Enquirer, and the paper has no one on staff who can make powerful people answer direct questions. Nobody fears editors Tom Callinan or Hollis Towns, and publisher Margaret Buchanan is in bed with so many of them (that's just a figure of speech) that they know she can be trusted not to stir things up. They're letting Cincinnati down in a big way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a rare opportunity to question Margaret Buchanan on live radio:

BusinessWise, hosted by Tom Cooney and Crystal Faulkner on WNKU 89.7 FM, will be joined by Margaret Buchanan and Scott Provancher of the Fine Arts Fund on Tuesday, March 6, 5-6 pm.

Margaret Buchanan on the Fine Arts Fund & the Enquirer
As President and Publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Margaret Buchanan understands the various aspects that make a community appealing.
Recognizing a strong arts culture encourages both residents and businesses to locate in an area, Margaret has agreed to chair Cincinnati's Fine Arts Fund campaign this year. With a goal of $11.7 million for this year's campaign, she is working hard to support this important arts funding organization.

In addition to the campaign, we'll also discuss her role with the Enquirer & Gannett, and what's it like being back in Cincinnati after spending 16 years with papers in other states.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully, callers will get past the screeners to share what's really on their minds.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms Buchanan has only to answer to the shareholders.

Anything other than what moves the bottomline has little or no effect.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little less fraud and a little more social responsibility would increase the bottom line because people know you give a shit about them. If you are only in business to make profit, then the people don't matter, only money. So sad.

7:58 PM  

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