There's been a lot of excitement surrounding Facebook's IPO filing this week, but here's a little Facebook news that's not as exciting: There are zero women on its board of directors. In fact, it's all rich white guys—not terribly representative of the wide open world Facebook claims to represent.
This oversight, if that's what you want to call it, sets Facebook apart from other social media companies. (LinkedIn has one woman on its board, Google has three.) Only 11.3 percent of Fortune 500 companies don't have a woman on their board. It's even more odd because Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is a well-known proponent of gender equality. You'd think she'd have pushed for some female representation.
Susan Stautberg, co-founder of Women Corporate Directors, which promotes female board membership, says a lack of women on the board is just plain bad for business:
It doesn't make sense for a company that claims to be so forward looking to not have any women directors. If they just have an old boy's network in the boardroom, they won't have access to diverse ideas and strategies.
True, indeed. Not to mention that, according to a survey done by a non-profit called Catalyst, Fortune 500 companies with three or more female directors outperformed those with fewer women, achieving on average a 43 percent better return on equity. That's nothing to sneeze at.
But what's most striking about all of this is that 58 percent of Facebook's users are women. So why would you have your leadership so divorced from your user base, especially when you claim to be all about openness and sharing? In his letter to investors on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg said the following about his insanely successful company:
There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on. We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other.
Everyone in the world, huh? Let's hope that includes women—and everyone else who's not a white male, for that matter. Zuckerberg, there's no excuse for this. Get it together, or we're all going to unfriend you.