Women account for only one in 20 board members at leading internet companies in the US, according to recent research.
Web companies including Yahoo, CMGI, DoubleClick, E*Trade, RealNetworks, WebMD, AMC Entertainment, Ameritrade, Clear Channel, CNET Networks, Freemarkets and Knight Trading Group completely lack women board members.
The exception is eBay, which has Margaret Whitman as president and chief executive.
Whitman was the only female chief executive among the 757 executives in the study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Centre.
Only 16 per cent of the executives in the largest internet companies were women and Alltel, Fox Entertainment Group, Knight Trading Group, USA Networks and WorldCom have no women executives.
Among top executives, only 10 per cent of the media and telecoms leaders are women, although the number is higher for internet companies, where 20 per cent of the top executives are female.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Centre and dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, explained that even the newest media conglomerates and hi-tech companies reflect old attitudes in their executive suites.
"Women are rarely represented among top executives and boards of directors of media, telecoms and e-companies, even as these same companies compete fiercely for female viewers and users at home and at work," she said.
The study, which examined the 2001 annual reports of companies from the entertainment, publishing and telecoms markets, was compiled using data from company websites, annual reports, the Directory of Corporate Affiliations and Hoover's Profiles of Companies.
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