It’s hardly news that women don’t dominate technology companies, or indeed most companies, or governments (though the news that Rwanda‘s parliament now has 64% women members is fascinating; I wonder who will be the next president . . .). Point is: While denizens of the C Suite and Board members need to have a really smart grasp of the business, to use the old not-many-women-are-engineers defense against women high-level appointments is becoming absurd. Here, the New York Times points out that now Twitter is in process of going public, the public knows it is yet another men’s group. The board is entirely male (and, ahem, white). One woman, a new hire, Vijaya Gadde, is to be found in the executive office (she’s General Counsel).
This is ridiculous to my mind not become it isn’t “fair” (I have consistently argued that the equity case for appointing women to top jobs is both unreasonable and dumb), but because value will not be realized in this fast, fast-shifting economy without widely diverse expert perspectives at both C-Suite and director level. This is not simply an argument for women or other “diverse” groups. It’s a value-driven case for diverse thinking, including the seriously contrarian.
We have already noted that the IPO is also sad. Sad, because at some point a major social company will wake up to the fact that the logic is for social companies to be social in their governance. We need smart thinking on governance as well as technology, and smart mechanisms that will reward founders and other early risk-takers without locking up the results of their efforts with Big Oil governance. (See Facebook‘s share system, which together with its board membership and the role of its founder locates it clearly on the Carnegie/Murdoch side of history; and Twitter’s plan for a classified board. Sigh.)
We’re waiting for the tedious old-economy governance and financing approaches of these smart, C21 companies to find alignment. It has yet to happen.