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No Excuse for Apple's Binders Full of Women Problem

01/09/2014 12:55 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2014

Big hoopla this week that Apple is open to more female representation on their board. They caution, however, that it may take a few years. Coincidentally, NASA just announced their intention to spur a young commercial space industry and solve astronaut complex health issues during four extra years given to them. Apple must be going to another galaxy and back looking for their next female board member.

Thanks to Apple shareholders, the company's board nominating committee will now be "actively seeking out highly qualified women." Which raises the question: What has the committee been doing for more than three decades? Apparently the same thing they've been doing about minorities, since the woman currently on the board is also its only member of a minority group.

Worse still, Apple finds it necessary to specify that such women must be "highly qualified." The implication is that they're hard to find or that the good ones are all taken. I could have a list, with bios, in 20 minutes. Who couldn't?

This is more than a little reminiscent of Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment that revealed how out-of-touch he was with the issue of women's equality at work.

News flash for Apple: A woman as far back as 1993 to 1996 was NASA's Chief Scientist. You might want to check her math and management skills. See if she'd be considered "highly qualified." Then there's NASA's 2013 astronaut class, which is 50 percent women.

Of course, it's Apple's right as an American company to maintain a backward culture, to drag its feet on bringing women onto the board, to walk around blinded by their own ignorance, to make excuses that won't stand the light of day so that they can keep hiring board members who "fit" the culture and make everyone already there feel comfortable. It's our choice as consumers whether or not to help them do it.


Kathleen also blogs here. Her latest book is Shadow Campus, a fictional inside look at the underside of academic politics.

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