Ultraviolet, a women’s rights group in the US, has launched a petition to convince Facebook to put women on its male-only board of directors
By Special Correspondent
The truth is that women across the world have contributed immensely to the success of Facebook. According to a survey in 2010, women comprise a majority of its users.
The inconvenient truth is, despite studies showing how women have contributed to the social networking giant’s global success – Facebook’s revenue last year totaled $3.711 billion – there is not even a single woman on its board of directors.
On Thursday, Ultraviolet, a women’s rights group in the US, in an attempt to rectify the situation, launched a global campaign demanding Facebook to induct at least one woman on its board of directors before the company goes public this year.
Facebook could have easily avoided this controversy if they had put Sheryl Sandberg on the board. Widely respected as the COO at Facebook, Sandberg was never given a position on the board, headed by co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and controlled by seven white men.
“The fact that a company as large as Facebook with a massive global reach does not have a single woman on their board is nothing short of shameful,” Ultraviolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in a statement. “Facebook owes it success and makes a ton of money off of its women users. Women are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the sharing that happens on the site. In addition, women account for more than 70% daily fan activity on the site which is a huge source of revenue for the company. Facebook has a problem and they need to solve it before they go public. Mark Zuckerberg should live up to his company’s mission statement and appoint at least one woman to the board today.”
Ultraviolet sent the following letter to its 300,000 members:
Facebook has a problem and you can help them solve it. Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote that part of Facebook’s mission is to build tools that will help create the “direct empowerment of people, more accountability for officials and better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.”
Unfortunately, Zuckerberg doesn’t extend this philosophy to the way he runs his own business.
The majority of Facebook users are women–58%. Women are also responsible for 62% of the sharing that happens on the network and make up 71% of the daily fan activity on the site which is a huge source of revenue for Facebook. Zynga accounted for $445 million of Facebook’s profits last year and boasts 60% female users.
But in a few weeks, when Facebook goes public it will not have a single woman on its board–a decision that’s not only in conflict with Facebook’s own mission but one that’s also just bad for business.
That’s why we’re joining the Face It campaign and launching a petition to urge Facebook to invite at least one woman to join its board before it goes public. Past experience shows that Facebook cares a lot about its brand and will respond to pressure if enough of us speak out. And together, all of us have proven that when we take action together, we can have a big impact. Can you sign this petition today so we can deliver it to Facebook and the media next week?.
Not having a single woman on Facebook’s board makes no sense.
Here’s why: Companies with women on the board make more money. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between boards with female representation and increased returns on sales, investments and equity. And companies with women on the board function better. Studies have also indicated that women improve the ways that boards function and make decisions.
Women are also widely seen as the future of the tech industry. Take Pinterest as an example, they’ve only been around for a year and are already one of the ten largest social network services. They credit their meteoric growth to their 97% female users.
With a white, male board, Facebook is behind the curve.
This problem is easily solvable–there are countless qualified women, and its smart business to have women on Facebook’s board. But Facebook isn’t going to act unless there’s an outcry.
We’re organizing a big delivery of these petitions next week and a major media campaign to go with it. But we need your voice with us for this to work. Please sign today.
You can sign the petition here Tell Facebook: Putting Women on the Board is Good Business.
Related reading here