Posted in Education, journalism, News, Technology

The Most Powerful ‘Female’ Players In New Media

By Tracie Powell

Four of the five most powerful women in new media have Google connections, according to an annual report published by Forbes. But not a single one is of color.

No Asians, African Americans or Latinas made the list. Forbes states that: ”In the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley, the number of women at the top has been slow to change.” That goes double when it comes to women of color.

In fairness, Forbes published a separate piece recognizing women who wield power and influence in Africa. Among them, Ory Okolloh of Kenya, made that list. Okolloh is one of the 20 youngest, most powerful African women under age 45. A Harvard-trained lawyer, activist and blogger, Okolloh founded Ushahidi, a revolutionary crowd sourcing utility that enables citizen journalists and eyewitnesses all over the world to report incidences of violence through the web, mobile Email, SMS and Twitter. She is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential women in global technology. Earlier this year Okolloh became Google’s policy manager for Africa.

High tech companies in Silicon Valley have come under fire for the lack of diversity in its employment ranks. More than two dozen protested Google in February, demanding the company hire more women and people of color.

Forbes highlighted five tech-savvy women as the most powerful in the world; four of the five are either current Googlers or formerly work for the giant tech media company.

#5 Most Powerful Woman in the WorldSheryl Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, where she oversees the company’s business operations, including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications. Before joining Facebook in 2008, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, where she built and managed the online sales channels for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products worldwide. Forbes named Sandberg this year’s fifth most powerful woman in the world.

The second Googler, Susan Wojcicki, debuted as the 16th most powerful woman in the world. Google’s ad wizard, Wojcicki is responsible for 96 percent of the tech giant’s revenues– $28 billion last year alone.

Google’s first female engineer, Marissa Mayer, also made the cut, debuting as the 42nd most powerful woman on Forbes’ list. Mayer first oversaw search for Google; she is now responsible for the company’s next key growth driver, local products.

Twitter Vice President of International Strategy, Katie Jacobs Stanton, a former Googler and White House staffer, debuted as the 56th most powerful woman in the world. Jacobs Stanton joined Twitter last year and is charged with getting the world to tweet. She now has 70% of all Tweets coming from outside the U.S., and a fifth of world leaders are now on the service, including Russian President Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) and President Obama (@barackobama). Before Twitter, Jacobs Stanton was the product manager of Google Finance; she also worked at the U.S. State Department.

The final tech spot on the exclusive list is occupied by Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. Bartz, number 37, is no newcomer when it comes to female power on the world stage. The 62-year-0ld has made the Forbe’s list before, so it is no surprise that even now, amid increasing investor scrutiny, Bartz continues to defend her turnaround progress at the Internet giant. “Last year, she doubled operating income, operating margins and earnings per share, but revenues remained flat at $6.3 billion. With an audience of nearly 700 million, Bartz has built Yahoo into a leading digital media company with 12 first-ranked properties in the US and eight globally,” Forbes reports.

Tracie Powell is Vice Chair, Education and Policy, of NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force. A version of this post originally appeared at



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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