European Database: Women in Decision-making Table: Women in Telecommunication

Explanatory notes for the research "Women in top-leadership positions in the biggest
telecommunications companies

Definition of the research area and relevant terms

The research looked at the incumbent telecommunications operators (former monopolists) and their main competitors in the area of voice telephony.
Market share (usually measured by number of clients or amount of call minutes) was the decisive criterion for the definition of the main competitors.
The research differentiates between the fixed lines' and the mobile telephony markets. Accordingly, the telecommunications companies which were investigated during the research were grouped into the following categories:
1. Incumbent mother company (former monopolist for fixed lines telephony)
2. Main competitor in the fixed lines' market
3. Incumbent or subsidiary of incumbent in the mobile market
4. Main competitor in the mobile market

Governing bodies and leadership positions

The research looked at the presence of women in top-leadership positions in two categories (except for those cases where the companies stated to have only one top-leadership body)
1. Top-leadership bodies or positions in day-to-day executive management (i.e. General Manager, Excecutive Officers, Directors, Heads of Business Lines)
2. Supervisory or other superior governing bodies (i.e. Supervisory Board, Administrative Council, Board of Directors)

With respect to these two categories and the positions listed within them it is important to note that they don't refer to uniform circumstances or decision-making structures. There are no universal top-leadership positions and standard terms which might apply unequivocally to all countries and companies investigated in the research.

The criteria for the determination of top-leadership positions in this research follows solely the criteria and terms given by the companies themselves.

Not all telecommunications operators actually have a two-tier top-leadership structure. Single governing structures can be either a top-management body(or position) or a Board of Directors. In these cases, only one of the two leadership categories is filled out the table.

Notes on the data and on sources of information

All necessary information to establish the company list of incumbents and their main competitors was gathered via Internet and telephone between August und December 2000 and obtained either from the regulatory bodies or ministries (responsible for the telecommunications sector) in the member- and EEA-states or from reputable private telecommunications research institutes and consulting agencies.

The data refering to the numbers of top-leadership positions within the companies and the numbers of women in these positions are based on the accounts given by the individual companies. All data provided by the companies refer to the year 2000.

The telecommunications sector is highly dynamic and continuously changing. Forces of globalisation, convergence, concentration, mergers and acquisitions make for swift changes in company ownership and in organisational structures, as well as business fields, customer bases and market shares. As of the time of the publication of this document, some of the operators listed in the table may not even exist anymore under the given name.

The findings of this research capture only a specific moment in time during a period of great transition and highly fluctuating markets in the telecommunications sector.

As a result of that, the gathered data, providing information about the market positions of companies and about the representation of women in top-leadership positions, are somewhat precarious. However, observing the market over several months and talking with company executives about the nature of change which they have experienced in the last few years, it seems that the low levels of women's representation in decision-making positions have so far remained largely unaffected by changes in ownership structure and in the constitution of leadership bodies.

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