Facebook and the Gender Gap

Here we are in the 21st century – having come so far since the initial start of the women’s movement decades ago.  All this advancement, opportunity and new frontiers to take on and we’re still fighting to get women on corporate boards.  In case you’ve been living under a rock – or really don’t pay attention to news in the social media in the business world – here is an update: people are furious with Facebook!

Yes, again Facebook has managed to tick off a huge chunk of their users.  Women make up about 55% of Facebook users.  I have always been impressed with the number of women in top positions within the company, foolishly owing that to the progressive, gender neutral thinking of a Gen Y man running the whole thing, even if it partly was a nod to the high number of female users.  Then the news comes, Facebook’s corporate board make up, done in preparation for the company to go public, likely next month, will be all white, and all male.

The corporate board is one major glass ceiling left to break through.  Aside from the lack of women in elected office and the need to break through the executive positions still, board positions still show a huge gender gap.  Last year 24 women were added to Fortune 500 boards.  Alice Buttrick pointed out earlier this week in Forbes Women that it will take 40 years for women to end up with a third of the board positions if we continue at the same rate.

Besides the frightening thought that forty years from we will still be fighting the same equality battles we are now, here is why women should be concerned with this move:

  1. Women make up 56% of Facebook users.
  2. Women have 55% more posts on their Facebook walls than men.
  3. Women over age 55 are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.
  4. Women make up 69% of all Facebook gamers.

Need some other reasons women are need of equality in general?

  1. Women earn more college and masters degrees than men.
  2. Women earn less than men in 99% of occupations.
  3. Women comprise 46% of the workforce  (Shouldn’t we have 46% of the executive and board positions?)

Clearly we’re not all going to stop using Facebook, and the company knows that.  However, as was pointed out the other day on Huffington Post, excluding women is just bad business, especially when women are the largest source of revenue for Facebook.  Carol Pierson Holding, in the Huffington Post asks, “Wouldn’t a female board member be first to recognize ideas that appeal to the company’s largest group of users? To avoid behaviors that might alienate women?”  One woman is a start, though I hope to see women accurately represented on the board in comparison to their user share.

The good news is that there is something you can do about this that does not involve boycotting Facebook.  On Sunday I ran across an online petition from Ultra Violet, who is campaigning to get a woman on the board of Facebook.  I signed the petition.  Now it’s your turn.

Originally appeared on Fem2.0


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