Twitter CEO Speaks Out To Defend Against Claims Of Sexism

Tensions continue to mount in Silicon Valley over sexism and diversity issues.

Rick Wilking / Reuters

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took to Twitter this evening to respond to backlash surrounding a recent New York Times article, which criticized the almost-public tech giant for a lack of gender diversity among its executive ranks.

The piece is just the latest to shine a light on the glaring issues of gender balance and diversity in Silicon Valley, a pressing concern that’s quickly coming to a head, especially with regard to sexism.

In the piece, Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance who is in the process of writing a book on women and tech said the following:

“This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia. It’s the same male chauvinistic thinking. The fact that they went to the I.P.O. without a single woman on the board, how dare they?”

The article has picked up steam online over the weekend, prompting a defensive response from Costolo:

7. The back and forth continued between Dash and Costolo

If you like, you can follow most of the Tweets, here.

So far, Costolo has yet to respond.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been criticized for its lack of diversity and female leadership in the company ranks. In a recent article in All Things D, Kara Swisher noted the lack of a female board member, quoting a widely-used Twitter employee joke that, “‘Twitter’s governing body has to expand beyond “three Peters and a Dick.’”

But, as many tweets noted in the conversation’s aftermath, the problem is in no way exclusive to Twitter. The company is, however, still the only of the tech powerhouses without a female board member (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn, and eBay all have at least one female elected to their boards).

As with most Twitter confrontations little was solved, but it’s a stark reminder of Silicon Valley’s growing problems and the mounting tensions inside some of tech’s most important companies.

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