A New York Times Technology article started a firestorm of criticism for Twitter when Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, responded with a critical tweet. A Saturday story in the New York Times Technology section had called out Twitter for having only one woman among their top officials and none on their board. The information became public with Twitter’s IPO filing. From the article:
The board? All white men. The investors? All men. The executive officers? All men but for the general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, who has had the job for five weeks.
“This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance who is writing a book on 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?”
It did not take long for the criticism to start pouring in for Mr. Costolo’s choice of comparisons.
Costolo didn’t seem to take the criticism seriously, though. Well, this is Twitter so it is difficult to tell.
As interesting as this exchange was, it was noted by several women that Mr. Costolo did favor responding to tweets from men.
Having women executives matters not just for purposes of equality, business analysts say, but for product development and the bottom line. More women use social media than men, according to a study last month by the Pew Research Center; men and women use Twitter roughly equally. Twitter earns revenue from advertising and women are the chief consumers.
STEM (Science, Technolgy, Engineering, and Math) fields are becoming more representative in upper management but the criticism is justified. The upper echelon of technology companies is still an old-boys network. A problem that they need to actively seek to fix.
Christin Berger is the Recovered Conservative and the Chief Technology Officer for Liberal America. She is passionate about the environment, equality, and education. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after serving 12 years as an Army Medic. She is the author of the Jacqueline the Great series of children’s books, which is a series aimed at empowering young girls to believe that they can do anything they want to do. She has several works in progress including a book series aimed at celebrating our differences. She shares her home with five very creative children (read: messy) and one very active ferret.