Facebook's Shameful Billionaire Boys Club

The Atlantic
Facebook's Shameful Billionaire Boys Club
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Facebook's Shameful Billionaire Boys Club

The high profile soon-to-be IPO-ed company has zero excuse for not having a single woman on its board. It's almost cliché to call a tech company shameful for having a male dominated work force. Then again, it's the truth. But, the social network could have easily avoided eliciting headlines like this one from Bloomberg: "No Women on Facebook Board Shows White Male’s Influence on Social Agenda."  Facebook we expected more from you.

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Just one woman would have done it. It at least would have made Facebook the right kind of statistic. "Just 11.3 percent of the Fortune 500 had male-only boards last year," Bloomberg tells us. Just one lady and Facebook could have been the 88.7 percent. We're not even talking an equitable fifty-fifty ratio. One xx human. LinkedIn, for example, got a special shoutout for its progressive board from Bloomberg's Carol Hymowitz. "Others in the industry that have at least one female director, including LinkedIn," she writes. LinkedIn has just that, exactly one woman on its board.  

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One high profile female member of the company won't distract us. Sheryl Sandberg has become the token woman at Facebook. She has a legitimate position in the company. She's business savvy. She's an advocate for women. But, she also has a girly side. Great. Sheryl Sandberg is one person. "It’s surprising and disappointing that Facebook has zero female directors because Sandberg is so powerful at the company and so outspoken in favor of women advancing," Malli Gero, executive director of 2020 Women on Boards, told Hymowitz. And that her advocacy hasn't seeped into company culture makes us wonder just how token her role at Facebook is. 

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Many of Facebook's users are women. It's not just that the world is fifty percent female, the female Facebookers use the site more than men do. Ladies spend 30 percent more time social networking than men, according to Comscore. And on Facebook specifically, women do 60 percent of the sharing and have 8 percent more friends, stats straight from our favorite Facebook lady's mouth. Why not have a board that reflects that reality?

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Boards with women have more success. From Bloomberg: "A Catalyst survey of Fortune 500 companies found that those with three or more female directors outperformed those with fewer between 2005 and 2009, achieving on average 43 percent better return on equity." Having just filed for its IPO, from a purely business strategy perspective, women might do the company some financial good. 

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Forward thinking company? Mark Zuckerberg runs a company of the future. Even Google, which at this point we would consider an old-school tech company, has three women on its board. Get with the times, Zuck. 

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