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Fortune 500 Lacking Women, Minorities, According to New Study

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Special to the NNPA from the Louisiana Weekly –

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chair man of the Senate Democratic Task Force and the lone Hispanic Senator, today unveiled the results of his survey on women and minority representation among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies, as well as their use of minority and women-owned businesses in the contracting and procurement process.

The survey found that women and minority representation on corporate boards continues to lag far behind the national population percentages. Menendez’s survey was one of the most successful of its kind, garnering input from 219 corporations on the Fortune 500 list and 71 on the Fortune 100 list.

The study found minorities to represent a total of 14.5 percent of directors on corporate boards and overall have less representation on executive teams than they do on corporate boards.

Hispanics are least proportionately represented on boards and fared even worse on executive teams. They comprise 3.28 percent of board members and and 2.90 percent on executive teams, about one-fifth of the 15 percent they represent in the U.S. population. Among minority groups, African-Americans have the highest representation on boards compared to their population, but saw greatest decline in representation from boards to executive management teams, from 8.77 percent to 4.23 percent. Women on the other hand fared better on executive teams than on corporate boards, with 18.04 percent and 19.87 percent of representation respectively, but these figures still represent less than one-half of their proportion of the national population.

Senator Menendez and others also offered concrete recommendations, including the creation of a task force with select corporations, executive search firms, board members, and other experts to help companies move in this direction.

“As Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, one of my top priorities has always been promoting and expanding diversity at all levels of our economic, political and social sectors, and the basic understanding that has resulted from this survey will help guide us in doing so,” said Senator Menendez. “This report clearly confirms what we had suspected all along – that American corporations need to do better when it comes to having the board rooms on Wall Street reflect the reality on Main Street. We need to change the dynamic and make it commonplace for minorities to be part of the American corporate structure. It is not just about doing what’s right, but it’s a good business decision that will benefit both corporations and the communities they’re tapping into and making investments in. That’s why I’m offering my recommendations and to work one-on-one with companies who want to move those numbers and company executives who want to make a difference in the community.”

This survey is one of the largest studies of women and minority diversity among corporate leadership with one of the highest response rates. A total of 219 Fortune 500 companies participated, including 71 Fortune 100 companies, making this one of the largest surveys on women and minority representation in corporate leadership ever. It requested the following information from corporations: 1) whether or not they have written diversity plans with targets, 2) data on diversity at the Board and executive management level, and 3) information on supplier diversity.

Most important findings of the survey and recommendations based on this data:

Diversity on Corporate Boards

• Women represent 18.04 percent of directors; 1 out of every 5 board members is female. The proportional representation of women on Boards is less than one-half of their proportion to the overall U.S. population.

• Minorities represent 14.45 percent of Directors; 1 out of every 7 Board members is a minority. Minorities represent less than half of the 35 percent of the population they comprise overall in this country.

• Blacks/African-Americans have the highest representation at 8.77 percent compared to their population, reporting a Board ratio of about 69 percent.

• Hispanics have one of the poorest representations on Boards. They comprise about 3.28 percent of Board members, one-fifth of the 15 percent they represent in the U.S. population. Native-Americans made up about .04 percent of Board members, approximately 5 percent of their actual population.

Diversity on Executive Teams (CEO and direct reports)

• Women represent 19.87 percent of Directors; 1 out of every 5 Board members is female. Although women fared slightly better on executive teams than on corporate Boards, they still represent less than one-half of their population.

• Minorities overall have less representation on executive teams than they do on corporate Boards, representing 10.44 percent of executive managers, compared to 30 percent of their actual proportion to the U.S. population.

• Blacks/African-Americans saw the greatest decline in representation from Boards to executive management teams, 8.77 percent to 4.23 percent. In fact, they went from about one out of every 11 Board members to one out of every 24 executive team members. When compared to population statistics, Blacks/African Americans on executive boards represented only about one-third of their U.S. population.

• Hispanics/Latinos fare worse on executive teams versus corporate Boards at 2.90 percent, Asians and Native-Americans do slightly better at 2.55 percent and .25 percent respectively.

Indicted Senate Candidate Greene to Stay in Race

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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspapers –

(NNPA) - South Carolina Democratic Senate hopeful Alvin Greene plans to continue his run for office despite being indicted on obscenity charges related to an alleged incident that took place on the University of South Carolina’s campus last November.

According to court records, a Richland County, S.C. grand jury on Aug. 13 indicted Greene on a felony charge of promoting obscenity and a misdemeanor charge of communicating obscene messages to another person after authorities said he showed a female University of South Carolina student pornographic images on a computer in one of the school’s computer labs, and then attempted to go to her room.

Greene confirmed that he was staying in the race when reporters from WCNC, a North Carolina NBC affiliate, made an unannounced trip to his home to ask him about his plans. Pressured into answering further questions, Greene asked the reporters to “leave the property” and “go away.”

The South Carolina Democratic party has sought Greene’s removal from the race since his upset win over former state Rep. Vic Rawl in the primary, despite running as a complete unknown with no apparent funds. Calls for an investigation into the primary election results were dismissed, but Greene’s recent indictment was the final straw for the party’s local chair, Carol Fowler.

“In June, I asked Mr. Greene to withdraw his candidacy because of the charges against him. Following today's indictments, I repeat that request,” Fowler said in a statement released to the media when Greene was indicted. “It will be impossible for Mr. Greene to address his legal issues and run a statewide campaign. The indictment renews concerns that Mr. Greene cannot represent the values of the Democratic Party or South Carolina voters.”

Greene will face incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican, in the general election in November.

Nielson: African-Americans Talk, Text More on Cellphones Than Any Other Ethnic Group

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Special to the NNPA from Target Market News –

(NNPA) - According to a new analysis of cellphone usage by The Nielsen Company, African-Americans spend more time on average talking and texting than any other ethnic group. The voice and text results are compiled from one year (April 2009-March 2010) of mobile usage data gathered by Nielsen, which analyzes the cellphone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers each month in the United States.

Nielsen found that African-Americans use on average more than 1,300 voice minutes a month, compared to the next most talkative segment, Hispanics, which talk on average 826 minutes a month. Asian/Pacific Islanders logged on average 692 talk minutes a month, followed by Whites, who use approximately 647 voice minutes a month.

Black consumers sent and received on average 780 SMS text messages per month, more than any other group. Hispanics averaged 767 text messages. Whites were third with a monthly average of 566 messages, followed by Asian/Pacific islanders with 384 texts.

The Nielsen analysis also found that women outranked men (856 vs. 666) for minutes spent talking on cellphones. Likewise women led in text messages over men, with 601 vs. 447.

While teens 18-24 text more that adults 25-34, cellphone voice usage is quite close (981 voice minutes for 18-24 and 952 minutes a month for those 25-34 years old.)

South Africa's Media Fears Censorship Under New Gov't Bill

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Special to the NNPA from GIN –

(GIN) – South Africa’s investigative reporters say they fear a proposed “media tribunal” could end their exposes of public corruption and maladministration by government officials.

In the name of allowing average citizens to hold the media accountable, President Jacob Zuma's ANC has proposed a tribunal, accountable to an ANC-led parliament to monitor and sanction the press.

A Protection of Information Bill is also under consideration to curb the reporting of so-called “state secrets.” Journalists reporting official information the state deems classified could face as many as 25 years in prison.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, speaking to the South African National Editors Forum, defended the tribunal concept but stressed that media would not be treated as the apartheid regime treated black journalists. He invited the media to participate in drafting legislation.

In an opposition piece, Thulani Ndlovu, former Zimbabwe reporter and now law student, wrote: “The imperfections and limitations of the press are hardly the most pressing problems facing South Africa... Instead of attacking the press for 'blowing the whistle' on maladministration and corruption, the government should tackle those problems head on.”

U.N. Peacekeepers Silent as 200 Women are Gang-raped

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Special to the NNPA from GIN –

(GIN) – An American aid worker and Congolese doctor reported this week that nearly 200 women and some young boys were gang-raped by Congolese and Rwandan rebels over four days within miles of a UN peacekeepers' base in an eastern Democratic Republic of Congo mining district.

More than three weeks later, the UN mission has issued no statement about the atrocities and said Monday it still is investigating.

A public-service billboard in Kalenger, Eastern Congo, discourages men from raping women.

"Ubakaji" is the Congolese word for rape. It is borrowed from the language of neighboring Tanzania; Congolese culture itself did not openly speak of rape until very recently.

An estimated 500,000 women and girls have been victims of sexual violence since the Second Congo War began in 1996.

Less than a year ago, Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit war-torn regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo—and pledged $17 million to fight the rape epidemic.

"Working together, we will banish sexual violence into the dark past, where it belongs, and help the Congolese people seize the opportunities of a new day," she wrote later in an op-ed.

Ten months later, Africa experts are questioning how the $17 million has been spent.

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BVN National News Wire