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April 07, 2012 11:02 PM UTC

Women Drive Facebook's Growth, But Can't Get a Seat on the Board

  • by: ProgressiveCowgirl

(I’m in Colorado and I’m a woman… – promoted by Pita)

As Facebook prepares to go public, 58% of its users lack representation on the world’s largest social network’s executive board. In addition to comprising most of its user base, women are responsible for 62% of sharing through Facebook network. Despite the importance of women to Facebook’s success, there’s still not a single woman on the board, a fact that has prompted new pro-equality organization UltraViolet to circulate a petition demanding diversity on the all-male BoD.

Despite having the well-respected and overtly pro-equality Sheryl Sandberg as second in command, Facebook remains behind the curve on women’s issues.  

For instance, after years of complaints from mothers and their advocates, Facebook still sometimes suspends the accounts of women who post breastfeeding photos. It’s not hard to tell the difference between pornography and feeding an infant, but apparently the distinction frequently escapes Facebook’s content moderation staff. Of course, that staff is allegedly paid $1 per hour to remove offensive images like “camel toes.” (Of course, post a picture of Michael Phelps in a Speedo, and you’re in the clear–only the outlines of female genitals are obscene!)

Facebook’s failure to protect 58% of its users doesn’t stop there. Despite Terms of Use that already prohibit “hateful, threatening” content, Facebook often won’t remove pro-rape pages, and refuses to explicitly state that Facebook prohibits pages condoning sexual violence. In fact, Facebook has actually defended such pages as nothing more than “pub jokes.” I don’t know about you, but my gentlemen friends would have words–if not more–with any fellow in a pub who said something about, “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” the actual title of a Facebook page left live for months after initial complaints surfaced.

Would appointing a woman to the board cure these deficiencies overnight? Of course not. If Sheryl Sandberg, known around the world for her support of women in business, can’t make a difference, one female board member won’t. But an all-male board for a company driven primarily by female users is inexcusable in 2012. Appointing women to Facebook’s board isn’t just a step in the right direction; it’s a choice that should be viewed as mandatory, prior to what may be the largest IPO in history.


15 thoughts on “Women Drive Facebook’s Growth, But Can’t Get a Seat on the Board

  1. ront door?

    Zuckerberg doesn’t like women.

    FB doesn’t much like people – certainly not women, for the reasons you give and others.

    I hate FB.

    But – it’s not a public ammenity.  It’s a private company with it’s own … priorities.


    1. They’re planning what’s likely to be one of the biggest IPOs in history.

      I reject the idea that the public has no say in the behavior of a technically “private” company. If you have a Facebook account, you are Facebook’s product. They are buying and selling your attention. You can control which companies you allow to sell you this way — install Ad Blocker Plus and just remove companies you like from the block list, allowing them to show you ads. I will be blocking ads on Facebook until women have a voice on their board.  

  2. We know, the Republicans inform us daily (if not more often), that women are weak and unable to make their own decisions. That would be horrible for a major internet company to have to rely on a woman to decide something. And if she was in her menses they whole company could fail.

    Better to not let the weaker sex be in power positions. And good goddess if she was postpartum and lactating, she would take time to do something men don’t want to know about in the closet (no place in the building to do the milking other than that) and that would really destroy the company.

    Besides, we all know women are unable to understand the complexities of software.

    FU facebook. I have been shutting down google, phone goes next month, I can just as well now dump facebook. Oh wait a minute, I never bothered to begin to sign up with facebook.

  3. I’m not a fan of Facebook, mostly because they play fast and loose with privacy issues.  Assuming that everything in the above post is accurate, I am even less of a fan of this particular social media outlet.  I am both surprised — and disappointed — to learn that there are no females on their executive board. I find it odd that Sheryl Sandberg, the second in command of Facebook, is not on the executive board.  

    It is the last sentence of the posting that concerns me.

    “Appointing women to Facebook’s board isn’t just a step in the right direction; it’s a choice that should be viewed as mandatory, prior to what may be the largest IPO in history.”

    Having a female, a Hispanic, a black, a Native American, a GLT, etc., however, does not automatically make any entity diverse, or that unique member a representative of the segment of the population they are allegedly supposed to represent.  (Think Clarence Thomas.)  That concept, however, seems to abound in the world of the political correct.    

    I have always believed that treating any group of people — including Republicans or Democrats — as monolithic is a huge mistake, particularly in politics.  I think the election results of both 2008 and 2010 have clearly demonstrated that.

    I guess my concern with the “mandatory statement” is this.  Just who is supposed to make it mandatory? The government?

    1. As in, at some point in time, Zuck should have thought “Oh, FUCK, I don’t have any women on my board, we can’t go public like this or we’ll be eaten alive by the goddamn feminists!” and fixed the problem.

      We goddamn feminists don’t mind being seen as the meanies if it makes people do the right thing.

      If I meant “there oughta be a law,” I’d have said there oughta be a law.

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