UltraViolet, a progressive women’s rights group that has gained more than 300,000 members in the mere three months it’s been active, launched a campaign today aiming to get Facebook to add a woman to its board of directors before the company’s IPO.
As The New Yorker wrote in an eloquent profile, though Sheryl Sandberg is the widely-recognized female COO at Facebook, she was never given a position on the board, which is currently populated entirely by white dudes. Considering Facebook’s tendency to bow to the demands of the public, UltraViolet’s organizers think their petition will put enough pressure on the company to finally add an XX to their XY circlejerk. Nita Chaudary, cofounder of UltraViolet, said in an email to members:
“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. Facebook owes [its] 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 is funded by the Citizen Engagement Lab, and has grown tremendously over the past few months. Focusing on employing social media to reach new supporters, UltraViolet tries to combine the ideas of armchair activism with actually getting out there and acting. The method seems to be working: they teamed up with MoveOn in February to pressure the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reverse its decision about defunding Planned Parenthood. The petition garnered 60,000 signatures in just a few hours, and two days later, Komen caved.
Here at Ladybeat, we’re all for encouraging women to take on important roles in technology. Plus, Facebook could have avoided this mess entirely by putting Ms. Sandberg on the board in the first place. Oops.