Does Facebook's corporate board need women?

The social-networking titan has millions of female users, but zero women on its board of directors. The Face It campaign believes this is unacceptable.

(Boudica image by Aldaron, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Facebook is under fire once again for lack of women in its leadership. The Face It campaign launched this week to draw attention to the fact that, as the world's largest social network readies itself to go public, after announcing a US$5 billion initial public offering in February, its board consists only of white men.

"We believe that this board of white men should include women of all colours," states the Face It campaign's mission. "Because Facebook should go public with a board that reflects its own mission — to make the world more open and connected."

Facebook's board has seven white men, including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, The Washington Post Company CEO Donald E. Graham and Peter Thiel of Founders Fund.

Of Facebook's 845 million monthly active users the majority are women, according to a ZDNet article about the Face It campaign. Representatives of the campaign say that having female board members would help business by ramping up revenue for Facebook via advertising and show that the social networking site could be a leader in setting precedent on gender equality.

Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley company to exclude women from its board, however. Twitter, PayPal and Foursquare's boards are all male, and Apple, Amazon and Groupon's boards each have just one woman. Three of Google's 10 board members are women.

In a New Yorker article from last July about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — one of the most powerful women in tech — Zuckerberg spoke about why Facebook's board has no women. "We have a very small board," he told The New Yorker. "I'm going to find people who are helpful, and I don't particularly care what gender they are or what company they are. I'm not filling the board with check boxes."

This is the second time in the past couple of months that Facebook has been targeted for male exclusivity. The California State Teachers' Retirement System, the second-largest pension fund in the US, publicly announced in February that the social network should add women to its board.

Facebook did not immediately respond to request for comment.


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marsblakmon posted a comment   

Do women lobby groups actually hear themselves?!! The best people for the job...not the best men or women - people...I'm sick & tired of the rhetoric by women about a perceived inequality just because some female hasn't attained a specific post, & male bashing, because they have one thing a lobby group has set their talons to (which women love doing anyway)...I'm sure women in directorships do a fantastic job everywhere...but please, dont let the hypocrisy hit your arses on the way out...


Michelle Starr posted a reply   

Hi marsblakmon!

Just a heads-up, if you're going to call out something you think is unfair, you'll strengthen your position if you don't make sexist generalisations while you're doing it :)


guest32932832 posted a reply   

... says a feminist. Ah irony! So powerful!


guest32932832 posted a reply   

Gender studies, anyone?

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