UltraViolet, an online women’s rights advocacy and activist organization that’s previously waged campaigns against a number of political appointments and legislative pushes, as well as advertisers of, ah, radio commentators who are fond of misunderstanding basic concepts like how birth control works and throwing gendered slurs around based on those misconceptions. But today they’re taking their case to a slightly different arena: the tech world, namely the New York offices of Facebook. They plan to deliver a petition, fifty eight thousand signatures long, asking Facebook to change the line up on its executive board so that when it goes public in a few months, it will be with at least one woman in that board room.
While Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg is considered to have a strong voice in the company, it’s executive board remains stubbornly male and monochrome. UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary says:
Facebook has grown on the backs of women, over 50% of users are women and the vast majority of sharing and fan activity is being done by women, which is directly tied to the company’s revenue.
This is a company that’s growing off the backs of women, who are the future of social networks and the tech industry. And they’re about to go public with an all-white, all-male board, and that’s just wrong.
While some quick googling to find corroborating statistics leaves me uncertain of whether this refers to the female majority on Facebook in America (the country with the largest percentage of the Facebook population) or erroneously to a female majority globally, there’s no doubt that Facebook’s female users are more active than their male counterparts. But either way, whether global or not, we’re still talking about a distribution that’s even to within 5%. That’s about 50% more even distribution than Facebook’s board (or 40% more even if you throw Sheryl Sandberg into the mix). But you don’t need to say that Facebook’s management should reflect its user base in order to make the argument that they should put some women on their board.
There’s plenty of statistics to show that companies that have gender diversity in their highest management positions have, for example, 36% better stock price growth, 46% better return on equity, and are 28 times more philanthropic than companies helmed by all male boards.