If It Really Wants To Succeed, Twitter Needs To Hire More Female Executives

A study from Dow Jones VentureSource last week looked at how women are shaping modern businesses, and found that startup companies with a high percentage of female executives are generally more successful than those who skew overwhelmingly towards men.

The survey analysed more than 20,000 companies, and Glam Media, a lifestyle content creator which runs a number of websites, was singled out for high praise amongst all startups, as 29 percent of its 28 executives are female.

Which contrasts somewhat sharply with Twitter, which has the heady total of one senior female executive within its roster.

Yep. One. And that would be Katie Stanton, former special advisor to the U.S. Department of State and, since July 2010, Twitter’s head of international strategy. And she’s in play.

(Is Twitter still a startup? For the sake of argument let’s agree that it is, and it’s really immaterial to the point being made in this article, but the platform has been around since 2006, so it’s a sketchy description at best.)

Twitter certainly isn’t alone in this shameful display. Foursquare has no female executives at all, and Dropbox only has one. Except… Foursquare has 100 employees, and Dropbox has 170.

Twitter has 1,300+.

Facebook, of course, has a woman, Sheryl Sandberg, as its COO, and when she was VP at Google she hired scores of female executives. Facebook has plenty of other female execs, too, as does Yahoo!, with Marissa Mayer becoming their first female CEO earlier this year.

But, and certainly at the top end, the female presence is notably absent at Twitter, which seems strange when you consider that most of its users are women (and always have been). Sure, this is all about the right person for the job – no reverse-sexism here – but are you telling me there are no women apart from Stanton who are qualified to occupy some of the top positions at Twitter’s upper echelon?


Twitter was founded by men, and the four leads – Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Dick Costolo – continue to run the show and command all media attention. But with Williams and Stone working on their own thing, and Dorsey taking a back seat, this could be a really great time to shake up the tree. If the Dow Jones study tells us anything, it’s that a feminine touch could be exactly what Twitter needs. And it’s one that must come from way above the glass ceiling.