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Keven Bellows Headshot

All A-Twitter About Twitter

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It's definitely not the first company to go public without any women on the board. I would wager nine out of ten companies that went public in the last twenty years had no women on their boards, either. And there was nary a headline about that.

Facebook narrowly averted the same kind of notoriety Twitter has recently enjoyed because of upfront pressure by institutional investors to put celebrity COO Sheryl Sandberg on the board before its IPO.

This doesn't mean that I am not ecstatic about the media twittering about Twitter in far more than 140 characters. I am delighted, primarily because it shows that the issue of women on public company boards is now front and center in the public discourse, as it should be.

With so many things wrong in America, this is one thing that's right -- the growing intolerance for distributing keys to the boardroom doors exclusively to aging white men. Enlightened male CEOS and a growing number of institutional investors have joined the chorus of women on boards (913 of 5,488 F500 seats) and organizations like Catalyst that have tirelessly researched and advocated for career equality for women. This growing coalition has been emboldened by recent independent research findings from Credit Suisse that categorically state companies with women on the board, perform better than those companies with equal capitalization and all male boards.

It isn't that women make better decisions than men (although, I personally suspect we do), but that a variety of voices, experiences and perspectives tend to enliven and broaden discussion and inform and improve decisions. That's just common sense.

The tired and frankly insulting reasons given for the dearth of women on the top-rung of decision-makers is "boards can't find any qualified women." The fact is, they hardly look!

A new book, The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors, by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire anticipates this new focus on the issue and predicts that there has never been a better time for women to set their sights on the boardroom. It reports on a confluence of circumstances and changes that create an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically increase the woeful percentage of women on corporate boards. And 58 women corporate directors interviewed agree.

Yes, it is especially shocking that a brand new tech company whose executives and audience are young men and women could be as hidebound as its' grandfather's business. But it's not especially surprising, given the lack of career mobility for the women who work there and the obvious indifference of the leadership.