Ultraviolet, a new women’s rights group, today launched a campaign demanding that Facebook appoint at least one woman to its board before the company goes public.
While Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most prominent “faces” of the company, Facebook’s seven-man board of directors remains resolutely male. “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, ” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of Ultraviolet. ”Facebook owes it success and makes a ton of money off of its women users.”
Facebook’s users are predominantly female (58 percent) and women drive the majority of sharing and fan activity on the site. Facebook’s revenue last year totaled $3.711 billion, according to the company’s IPO filing. Facebook’s board members now include Silicon Valley superstars like investors Peter Thiel and Marc Andreesen and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Bloomberg reported last month on the conspicuously all-white, all-male makeup of Facebook’s board. According to Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that researches women and business issues, just 11.3 percent of the Fortune 500 had male-only boards last year and 16.3 percent of all board members in the U.S. are female, making Facebook the exception rather than the rule.
Globally, Scandinavian countries boast the highest levels of board seats held by women. Norweigan law mandates gender equity on company boards leading to a 40.1 percent of board seats there being held by women. Fast Company reported that two years after the introduction of the Norwegian law, board members reported that company boards were measurably improved by the addition of women.
So is Facebook’s board a billionaire’s boys club or simply the best board talent available? If you think it’s the former, you can sign Ultraviolet’s petition here.