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Does Twitter Have a ‘Woman Problem’?


Twitter filed for an IPO last week, and the most shocking thing revealed in the paperwork is that there are no women on Twitter’s board. As in, none.

twitter birds 

(Photo Credit: petesimon/Flickr)

The New York Times reports that the board, investors, and executive officers are all male.

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“This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia,” Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance told the Times. Wadhwa is writing a book about women in tech. “It’s the same male chauvinistic thinking. The fact that they went to the I.P.O. without a single woman on the board, how dare they?”

Unnamed sources told the Times that Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo has prioritized finding a woman for the board, but “has found it difficult.”

This is, of course, a common problem at tech companies, where men outnumber women, often by three to one. The numbers are worse when you get to the executive level: only about 10 percent of executives and board members at large public companies of any kind are women, according to a recent study.

Even if Costolo were able to add female leaders at this late stage, it wouldn’t do much to change the fundamental issue.

“Companies like Twitter aren’t created with women; they add them later as an afterthought on their way to become well-rounded, PR-friendly organizations,” writes Kate Dries at Jezebel. “That means that their corporate culture doesn’t start from a place of acceptance: it starts from a place of — for lack of a better word — otherness. These women are othered from the start because they’re brought in once a company’s message and lifestyle has already been shaped by only men.”

In the meantime, maybe Mitt Romney has some binders full of women left over from his time as governor of Massachusetts, and wouldn’t mind sharing them with Twitter. Or they could just ask BuzzFeed to recommend some candidates.

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Should companies make an effort to have female leaders? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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