On yesterday’s Cashin’ In, the panel discussed the all male boardroom at Facebook. Host Cheryl Casone announced that the nation’s second largest pension fund is pressuring Mark Zuckerberg to add women to the board. Panelist Tracy Byrnes not only didn’t want to help her female brethren, she suggested it was an insult. Regular panelist Jonathan Hoenig said so overtly.
When asked why she was against pressuring Facebook to add women, Byrnes said, “Because you sit on the board because you deserve it. You have the merit to do so, you are qualified to do so. It has nothing to do with the fact that you have a skirt on all day long, Cheryl. I would not at this point want to be handed anything as a woman. We worked too hard to prove how smart we really are. Don’t hand any woman a seat on that board unless she deserves it.”
Panelist Wayne Rogers said, “It’s a free market. You can buy the stock, or you can sell the stock... They can do whatever they want to… Zuckerberg can appoint whoever the hell he wants to, and he can say to them, Go fly a kite… Don’t buy my stock.’”
John Layfield was one of only two of the five panelists to argue against the all-male board. He said, “It is shameful to me that these tech companies – this is like a bunch of tech geeks build a tree house and put up a sign up that says, ‘No chicks allowed.’ …If you’re saying that the only people that are qualified are white males to be on that board, I have to disagree with that. This is the year 2011 (2012, John), and I think we should no longer discriminate on race or gender. I’m not for forcing women in, but I am for opening up opportunities that are not there in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street.”
Byrnes jumped in. “But we’re presuming he discriminated to begin with!”
Guest Christian Dorsey, a News Hounds Top Dog, said it would “make sense” from a PR perspective to put women on the board. “To suggest that there are no qualified women is a complete farce,” he said.
”Nobody is suggesting that,” Byrnes said.
”It’s a private choice. Why does he have to do this?” Rogers reiterated.
Dorsey replied, “He doesn’t have to do anything, but a huge investor has the right to tell them what they think they should do.”
Jonathan Hoenig called the idea “a real insult to female businesspeople. It likens women to some type of, you know, barnyard animal where they all think alike… It’s terrible.”
That seemed to be too much for Byrnes. “Hey, hey, hey!” she said – although she essentially agreed with Hoenig in all respects other than his barnyard characterization.
Layfield had the best response. “That’s like saying barring Jackie Robinson was a private decision among private shareholders. Come on, it’s the year 2011 (2012, John). There are women that are qualified and they are being excluded.”
The right wing does not understand gender or racial bias, but they do understand how to cover their baser feelings of misogyny and racism with concerns about “fairness.” Large stockholders get to have a say in how a business is run.
Blond, leggy and short skirts don’t cut it. We just use ’em as Grandpappy-Bait to get a bump.