The Upside of Twitter’s Boy Club: More Focus on Women

Colleen DeBaise By Colleen DeBaise

If there’s a bright spot in the recent kerfuffle, it’s that the list of qualified women is longer than ever.

Twitter recently decided to go to IPO without a single woman on its board, hardly a shock in the male-dominated world of technology.

But a silver lining in the ensuing controversy is that a host of outlets have put forth suggestions of women that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo could consider (if, in fact, he wants to rectify the situation). This could be the most coverage of women we’ve seen when it comes to tech IPOs. The fact that Twitter’s lack of female directors or senior executives has gotten so much press could be viewed as progress, in and of itself.

The New York Times, which ran Saturday’s article pointing out the dearth of women, published a helpful list of 25 women who could serve on Twitter’s board, from industries like tech, media, entertainment and advertising. We saw some familiar faces, including Charlotte Beers, the former Ogilvy & Mather executive who wowed the crowd at last week’s NAWBO conference with her Texas straight talk and quick wit. And then there’s Kay Koplovitz, the founder of USA Network who started Springboard Enterprises, a nonprofit for women entrepreneurs, whose financial knowledge we recently wrote about here.

Meanwhile, the folks at BuzzFeed put together a list of 12 women who could make excellent Twitter directors. Their list includes some female television execs from Disney, Home Shopping Network and HBO, plus some all-around heavy-hitters: Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey. We also liked how BuzzFeed’s business editor Peter Lauria tweeted the list to Costolo:

With all the qualified women on display, it’s no wonder Slate chose this headline — “It Would Be Really Easy For Twitter To Put a Woman On Its Board” — for its post. The mag urged Twitter to think outside the box (directors don’t have to be big-time corporate executives or retired politicians, both of which are generally white guys). “How about someone like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or Rihanna all of whom have upwards of 30 million followers?” wrote Matthew Yglesias. “Surely their success in the medium could give the company some important insights about its use as a platform by celebrities.”

At this point, it’s probably piling on….but we can’t help but mention that we’ve accumulated an impressive list of female entrepreneurs ourselves. See our videos here. They’re not household names, but we’ve profiled women who have overcome significant hurdles — family deaths, refugee camps, nightmare Green Card situations— to become successful entrepreneurs. Surely the challenges of the tech world (geeky guys, sexist culture, all that code) would be a cinch for these ladies.

Who do you think would make a good female candidate for Twitter’s board? Leave your suggestion on our comment board.

Posted: October 8, 2013

Colleen DeBaiseThe Upside of Twitter’s Boy Club: More Focus on Women