Research has shown that companies with female board members heavily outperform companies with "boy's club" boards. So when it comes to Facebook's board, where the ladies at? Yeah, well, about that...
The Daily Beast's Abigail Pesta reports that some advocacy groups are trying to capitalize on the hullaballoo surrounding the company's recent and much-hyped IPO to pressure Mark Zuckerburg to diversify his top team. But their argument is less that it's good for business, and more that it's his moral responsibility.
"Facebook has grown off the backs of women, who make up the majority of its users and are responsible for the majority of sharing and fan activity on the site," argues women's right's group Ultraviolet, which produced a YouTube video called "Do Women Have a Future at Facebook?" and is also running an online petition that boasts a whopping 50,000 signatures. The group's consensus seems to be no, they don't, given that their video shows women like Hillary Clinton (the photo made famous by "Texts from Hillary," no less!) getting their heads chopped off and replaced with Zuckerburg's ruddy face.
Another campaign, Face It, has the tagline, "Seven White Men: That's Ridiculous." (Not to mention, it sounds an awful lot like a Disney movie cast.) Face It's team doesn't just want more women on board — they want more diversity, too. They also have a YouTube video (maybe YouTube is secretly behind this movement, too?) which refers to Zuckerberg's recent letter to investors that said: "Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission-to make the world more open and connected." And they say The Social Network was totally fictitious!
Oh, Mark. When you talk like that, it's really hard for you to defend your all-male team, although that doesn't mean you haven't tried. "We have a very small board. I'm going to find people who are helpful, and I don't particularly care what gender they are or what company they are," Zuckerburg told The New Yorker last year. "I'm not filling the board with check boxes."
He might not be filling the board with check boxes, but he's filling the board with an awful lot of white dudes. There's Marc Andreessen, cofounder of venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz; Jim Breyer, a partner at venture-capital firm Accel Partners; Peter Thiel, a partner at venture-capital firm Founders Fund; Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company; Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix; and Erskine Bowles, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina. It's not like Facebook is the only boy's club; Twitter, Zynga, and Pandora are all missing women from their boards, too. LinkedIn and Groupon each have one woman on theirs, and Google has three. Will Facebook ever follow suit?
One wonders what Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, thinks about all of this. Sandberg is an outspoken advocate for women's rights, sits on the board of the global women's rights group Women for Women International, and recently co-hosted the Newsweek/Daily Beast's Women in the World summit, during which she told attendees, "In every area, women have steadily made progress-except at the top. Where are we? Are we stalled?" Well, the board of Facebook is definitely the top of the top.
Bloomberg recently reported that Facebook had hired a corporate-recruitment firm, ostensibly to find a lady for its board. Will women — who make up 55 percent of Facebook's users, according to social-media research firm Socialbakers — boycott the site if that doesn't happen? Maybe not, but it does seem like the fight to pressure Zuckerburg to diversify its board is only just beginning.
Facebook Comes Under Increasing Fire for Its White-Male Board [The Daily Beast]
Photo via UltraViolet.