NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Twitter (TWTR) has been having a rough time keeping up its share price as the social media network fails to significantly grow its revenue and userbase. Fingers have been pointed at Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, but could some of the stock slump be attributed to a lack of female leadership?
While there is a clear gender imbalance across all of tech, Twitter in particular seems to have a difficult time retaining female employees in senior roles. Chloe Sladden, vice president of media, left in August. Vivian Schiller, who was the head of news and journalism partnerships at Twitter, left in October 2014, after just 10 months, and April Underwood, director of product, left in February of this year. There are also rumors of Kate Jhaveri, senior director of consumer marketing, possibly leaving in the near future after having been passed over for the role of CMO.
Just 21% of senior level roles at Twitter were filled by women as of last July, excluding the above departures. At Facebook (FB), 23% of leadership roles are held by women, 21% at Google (GOOG), 20% at Apple (AAPL), 25% at Amazon (AMZN), and 29% at eBay (EBAY).
Twitter did not respond to an email asking for comment.
Gender-diverse companies (in the top quartile for ratio of women to men) are 15% more likely to financially outperform the national industry median, according to a McKinsey & Company study from January. In the U.S., for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8%.
The performance translates to shareholder return.
Companies that are the most inclusive of women in top management achieve 34% better total return to shareholders compared to their peers, according to a 2010 report, High-Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High Tech.
"It's absolutely fiscally responsible for companies to make sure women are pursuing, staying in, and excelling in their careers," Women Who Code CEO Alaina Percival said.
When the San Francisco-based company reported first-quarter earnings on April 29, it missed analyst expectations for revenue by $21 million pointing to issues with changes in advertisement on the platform and continued struggles with attracting new users, ending the quarter with 302 million monthly active users.
Twitter shares are below where they closed on the first day it went public, having dropped nearly 30% since its most recent earnings report to around $37 a share. The company's CFO Anthony Noto is buying shares, but he doesn't seem to have much company.
One of the many difficulties facing Twitter is that it can't seem to hone in on one focus, adding new products on a regular basis to try to spark the business. Many have been criticizing Costolo, calling for him to step down. Costolo told Re/Code that he isn't fazed by this criticism and that he just needs to have thick skin.
But perhaps a solution may come from adding more female executives to the company.
While it may play into generalizations, a female manager may be able to help create a better work environment and a more positive perception for a company, according to a recent Gallup study.
Female bosses are better able to motivate employees, the study shows. Thirty-three percent of employees are engaged when a woman is leading, and 25% are engaged with a male boss. The female bosses, too, seem to be more motivated, with 41% of female managers feeling engaged at work versus 35% of male managers.
"Women tend to be more inclusive and can bring an openness and communication that can offset environments where people might be afraid to speak their mind," Schiller said in an interview.
Schiller declined to comment on Twitter specifically and emphasized that she felt no outright sexism while at the company.