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And Then There Was One: Facebook Appoints Sheryl Sandberg to Its Executive Board

Mutatis Mutandis

Following months, perhaps years, of complaints about how the “highest-ups” at Facebook are all men, Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s COO since 2008, has finally become the first woman appointed to the board of directors. It won’t be the first board she’s been on, but it’s probably fair to say that it’s about darn time Facebook made this change. We’ll go ahead and say it: The Mary Sue “likes” this.

It’s been a hot topic in the world of gender equality and technology — Why hasn’t Mark Zuckerberg included any women on Facebook’s board of directors? He said it was never a purposeful exclusion, he just had a “very small board” and wasn’t “filling the board with check boxes.” Meanwhile, he had this COO, handling all the aspects of the business of Facebook that he, admittedly, didn’t want to deal with, who was an outspoken advocate of gender equality in business. A COO who has sat on the boards of some pretty high-profile companies including The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, and the Center for Global Development. Why wasn’t this woman on the board of directors at Facebook?

Well, it clearly wasn’t a highly relevant question to just women’s groups and the human race in general. The announcement came late yesterday that Sandberg had been named to the seven-person (ahem, seven-man) board of directors, with the following quote from Zuckerberg:

“Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years. Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards makes her a natural fit for our board.”

For her part, Sandberg had this to say:

“Facebook is working every day to make the world more open and connected. It’s a mission that I’m deeply passionate about, and I feel fortunate to be part of a company that is having such a profound impact in the world.”

One out of eight is a start. It shouldn’t have taken public protests, petitions, and outcries for it to happen, but it has happened. Personally, I wouldn’t paint this as Zuckerberg caving to pressure because he didn’t want to add a woman to his board. I feel like this was Zuckerberg ultimately deciding to add another person to his extremely exclusive little club at the top. That person should have always been Sandberg. It took a long time and a lot of noise, but it happened. Let’s be happy about that, and hope that he has opened his eyes to what we were seeing that he wasn’t.

Congratulations, Sheryl Sandberg!

(Facebook via Huffington Post)

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