The Power of Public Opinion
December 9, 2013
December 9, 2013
After coming under public scrutiny for having no women on its corporate board, last week, Twitter finally announced the appointment of Marjorie Scardino as its first female board member. The scrutiny had been building over the past few months. At one point, the criticism was enough to make the CEO defend the company’s lack of gender diversity in leadership roles.
This new appointment, however, demonstrates the power of public opinion. The New York Times even presented 25 women who are qualified to serve on the board, making it clear that Twitter could not use the excuse of unqualified female candidates. Buzzfeed created a similar post, also presenting a list of women who would be valuable additions to the board. While it would be nice to think Twitter was planning to increase gender diversity even before the issue came under public scrutiny, that’s likely wishful thinking.
The media is often a reflection of public opinion. So in the case of Twitter’s all male board, it was clear: the people had spoken and they wanted to see gender diversity. It’s no surprise that less than two months later, Twitter makes the change many people had been waiting for.
Of course, the conversation needs to be more than just checking a box, and people will soon start asking if Twitter is following through on its commitment to gender diversity: Is Twitter starting a valuable conversation about women leaders? It is appointing qualified women to its boards regularly? Addressing these issues is a smart move if the social media giant wants to maintain its reputation as a progressive company that represents everyone, not just men.