Of Facebook’s more than 900 million users, 58 percent are women. But until yesterday, the social media site’s board of directors was strictly a boy’s club stocked with wealthy white men.
Sheryl Sandberg, who has served as chief operating officer of Facebook since signing on with the Silicon Valley-based company in 2008, was appointed to the corporation’s seven-person board Monday, making her the first woman to grace the company’s directive body.
Sandberg is an outspoken proponent of women in the workplace and is co-founder of Women Corporate Directors, an organization committed to diversifying and expanding the presence of women on corporate boards and increasing their visibility on a global level. She served as chief of staff to former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers during the Clinton administration.
She boasts a strong history of advocating for the reform of systemically sexist corporate America, gender inequality in the workplace and the struggle for women to achieve the “work-life balance,” describing women in full-time working couples as doing “three times the amount of childcare and two times the amount of house care the man does.”
In his international press release announcing Sandberg’s appointment, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to her as his “partner” in running the company and described her as being “central to [its] growth and success over the years.”
But his address to the company during her first day on the job struck a slightly different note. Rather than extol her personal accomplishments, he reportedly complimented her “good skin” and stated, “Everyone should have a crush on Sheryl.”
In a New Yorker article published last year, Zuckerberg commented that his “very small board” was staffed with individuals offering specific assets to the company–rather than filling gendered or racial quotas:
I’m going to find people who are helpful, and I don’t particularly care what gender they are or what company they are. I’m not filling the board with check boxes.
Here’s hoping the social networking giant continues its new tradition of recruiting talented executives who represent the diverse interests and perspectives it serves.
Photo of Sheryl Sandberg via Wikimedia Commons.