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Twitter and the Fed: For Women, One Step Forward, One Back

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 conference in San Francisco

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 conference in San Francisco

With her recent presidential nomination to chair the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen moves into once-unthinkable territory for women. As the first female head in the 100-year history of the Fed, Yellen gains a truly inspirational role and one for which she is infinitely qualified.

On the other end of the spectrum is Twitter. The company’s initial public offering focused attention to its all-male board of directors, a fact downplayed by Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo when he made the statement, “It’s more than checking a box.”

Of course it is. But shouldn’t a company whose business model is built on ad revenue predominantly generated by women—who also comprise 62 percent of its user base—put more time into seeking qualified female candidates for outside director positions?  Since Twitter is a young company, let’s hope it takes this into consideration while selecting future additions to the board.

Women can do more than tweet. In recent studies by Catalyst, Thomson Reuters (TRI), and Credit Suisse (CS), the same results were found: Companies that have female representation on their boards perform better financially. The return on equity, share-price performance, and growth were significantly better at companies that had at least one female director.

For a company still seeking profitability, Twitter’s corporate governance position toward women on its board could have huge consequences.

Blalock, a former senior executive with Southern Company, is the author of DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage, and Career for Women in Charge. She is a partner with Advisory Capital and is on the board of Computers for Youth, Emory Healthcare, the Georgia Health Sciences University, CSI Laboratories, Verdecco, and the business School of Mercer University.

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