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Spotlighting the Women Who Guide Our Industry

29 Aug, 2016 By: Thomas K. Arnold

This is the ninth year that we are honoring the women of home entertainment, and I am both gratified and disappointed that we’ve been doing it so long.

Gratified, because on a national level much progress appears to have been made. For the first time ever, we have a woman presidential candidate nominated by one of the two major political parties to be our next commander in chief.

And we have more high-profile women CEOs than ever, including the top executives at such celebrated companies as General Motors (Mary Barra), IBM Corp. (Ginni Rometty), and Lockheed Martin (Marillyn Hewson, who since taking over in 2013 has doubled the company’s market cap).

And yet if you dissect the numbers there’s still work to be done on cracking that glass ceiling. In June, Fortune reported that the percentage of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 has dropped to 4.2% — or 21, down from 24 the prior year. This prompted Fortune to observe, “For women at the top levels of American business, it can sometimes feel like every step forward is followed by two steps back.”

Over at the S&P 500, we see a similar sad figure — just 22 out of the 500 CEOs are women, a mere 4.4%. Dissecting the S&P 500 data further, we learn that women account for 44.3% of total employees, but just 9.5% of the top earners — reinforcing the notion that women are still, far too often, paid less than men are for the same work.

Until these statistics change, we are going to continue shining the spotlight on the women of home entertainment — as always a smart, savvy group who continue to drive one of the most significant transformations any industry has ever undergone: the transition from physical media to digital, and the simultaneous technological evolution that brings us closer and closer to a truly life-like image, from standard-definition DVD to high-definition Blu-ray Disc and, now, Ultra HD Blu-ray with high dynamic range and wide color gamut.

I like to think the entertainment business has always been more open than the rest of corporate America to putting talented women in charge of things — big studios, major studio divisions, key departments, critical projects. On the home entertainment front, we’ve set the bar pretty high, going back to the 1990s, with such visionary pioneers as Ann Daly, Kelley Avery and Mary Kincaid.

And over the years the bar has stayed high, thanks to such brilliant strategists as Disney’s Janice Marinelli, Sony’s Lexine Wong and 20th Century Fox’s Mary Daily, along with the many other fine executives profiled in the August 2016 issue of Home Media Magazine.

What I wrote three years ago rings even truer today: “What began as a way for us to honor the industry’s top women executives now reads almost like a who’s who of cutting-edge and visionary leaders who are forever changing the way studios deliver, and the general public consumes, entertainment.”

Here’s to the women of home entertainment, Class of 2016.

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About the Author: Thomas K. Arnold

Thomas K. Arnold

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