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Facebook’s Board Has No Women: Unacceptable

Facebook’s Board Has No Women: Unacceptable

Of Facebook’s 901 million users, the majority (56 percent) are women — yet the social media giant has no women on its board. Facebook is seeking to remedy this and has hired executive-recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to identify prospective individuals.

You’d think Facebook would want to include women on its board, which currently has seven members total. Consider Pinterest: Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine wrote that, in February, Pinterest had “over 10.4 million registered users, 9 million monthly Facebook-connected users, and 2 million daily Facebook users.”  97.7 percent of Pinterest Facebook fans are female.

Back in February, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the US’s second-largest pension fund, told Facebook that the lack of women on its board was “unacceptable” and that “we believe that investors and the company would benefit from a larger, more diverse board.”

Once Facebook makes its initial public offering on May 18 and becomes a publicly traded company, it will need a “seasoned corporate director and people with a variety of backgrounds,” says Dennis Carey, vice chairman at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International in Bloomberg. The lack of diversity on Facebook’s board of directors stands out all the more as only 11.3 percent of Fortune 500 companies have all-male boards.

Certainly there are plenty of female director candidates who’ve not only served on corporate boards but have experience in finance and marketing and as executives. Indeed, 18 Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. Bloomberg notes these possible candidates for Facebook’s board:

  • Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s own chief operating officer, who is also a director at Walt Disney Co.. (Though, as ZDNet’s Emil Protalinski points out, “if she hasn’t been added by now, one has to wonder why she would be once Facebook is a public company.”)
  • Lorrie Marie Norrington, formerly president of eBay Inc.’s Marketplaces business; she is now a director at Autodesk Inc., DirecTV and Lucasfilm Ltd.
  • Marna Whittington, head of Allianz Global Investors’ U.S.-based Allianz Global Investors Capital; she is now a director at Macy’s Inc..

Facebook’s current board includes the CEO of the Washington Post, Donald E. Graham; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings; Jim Breyer, the managing general partner of Accel Partners and an early investor in Facebook; venture capitalist Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz; Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund; Erskine Bowles, who is the former White House Chief of Staff and the president emeritus of University of North Carolina; and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook surely knows that all eyes will be even more focused on the company after the IPO. Zuckerberg will control 57.3 percent of the company’s shares and, hence, that much of its voting power: All the more reason for Facebook’s board to be something more than what Carey refers to as a “rubber stamp” for its chief.

 

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29 comments

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8:07AM PDT on May 20, 2012

@ Nancy & @ Stephan

I'd like to add to this conversation. The most important point being missed here I think is that Facebook appears to be employing the old boys club mentality in that probably no women were ever even considered for those positions. Qualifications aside, the discrimination occurs when women aren't even afforded the opportunity to apply or at least be considered. Qualification is a moot point in that most certainly there are many women just as qualified to hold those positions as there are men. The point is, they haven't been given the chance to try. Otherwise, there WOULD BE women members of that board.

We can't pretend that this is an unusual occurrence. But what hope do we have of rectifying this unfair discrimination when women themselves argue on the behalf of the discrimination? It's disheartening to say the least. We need to band together, all of us, and fight for what is right and fair.

3:09PM PDT on May 18, 2012

The founder was a nerd in college, and the cofounder has dropped his citizenship to the US to avoid taxes. And now, there's no women in Facebook - I may drop Facebook if they don't hire up women to their industry. The world is made up of both sexes and both should receive equal treatment, pay, and benefits!

9:01AM PDT on May 18, 2012

Nancy I really hope you read this, because you blew my mind on your perspective on the issue. Lets be clear; my perspective on this issue is that I feel sex, race, and all that should not be used to force any person/company to hire someone for any other reason than their qualifications. I've had the same doctor for over ten yrs,numerous pancreas attacks, 2 Aortic heart valve replacement surgeries, and I make this personal point not for any "oh poor guy". I went with Dale because of his "top of the field" qualifications,and a heart that shined through so brightly revealing deep compassion and a determination to help everyone he can. That is why I would hire someone, that is not to say there some positions where we seek the same sex in hiring, and I do not know that there are that many- actually I can't think of one. I can say for me personally in hospital I PREFER a female nurse over a male, and it's not about dislike/discrimination, I just feel more comfortable. That said, I'll happily insist on a qualified male nurse, over an un-degreed female nurse(2-3yrs college). Plain & simple, it's about qualifications and what the person brings, and not their sex, religion, or any other reason.

6:56AM PDT on May 18, 2012

So what. It is FACEBOOK! Who really gives a crap about this? In the grand scheme of things who cares? We should be discussing why there are so few women judges and other important women's issues. This entire topic is a complete waste of time.

5:27AM PDT on May 18, 2012

thanks

10:57PM PDT on May 17, 2012

The real Progressive left, do as I say, not as I do.

10:34PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Hasn't the writer of this article considered the fact that maybe no women applied for position on the Facebook board...or none passed muster? As a woman, I find it rather embarrassing for ANY company to be forced by intimidation into hiring a woman for a corporate position. If discrimination has not been proven, or previously committed, why should Facebook be hung out to dry by the media...or anyone? I have been discriminated against for disability, but that doesn't mean I see discrimination around every corner. So why are other people seeing this?

7:06PM PDT on May 17, 2012

False. COO Sheryl Sandberg is number 2, Zuckerberg is number 1. She has been a major boon to the company, and some consider her the key to growth and the future of Facebook. Another Harvard University grad.

5:44PM PDT on May 17, 2012

What if no women is good enough for the job? Is that what feminism is? Give women something even if they do not deserve it? If a woman finally get that job would you also like her to do the same work and do that work on the same hours as the men or would you just like her to get the position with the same pay and benefits but without having to do the same work and spend the same amount of time on the job as the men? What about the places where only women work? Should we put pressure on these places to force them to hire at least one man? Would you be okay with that?

5:06PM PDT on May 17, 2012

that's why I don't have a facebook

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