ICANN director Olga Madruga-Forti unexpectedly quit the board last week.
ICANN did not give an explanation for her sudden departure, which came toward the end of the ICANN 51 public meeting in Los Angeles.
The Argentinian telco lawyer’s resignation means she will miss the third and final year of her appointed three-year term.
Her decision comes almost exactly a year after Filipino entrepreneur Judith Vazquez also quit, again with no reason given, two years into her own three-year term.
This possible coincidence has led to speculation that the ICANN board has an “aggressively male culture”, whatever that means.
Both Madruga-Forti and Vazquez were selected by the Nominating Committee, which has guidelines obliging it to try to maintain a healthy gender balance on the ICANN board.
I’m not sure whether Madruga-Forti’s resignation supports or challenges my previously stated view that pro-female gender discrimination by NomCom is of questionable value.
On the one hand, NomCom has for two years in a row selected candidates — partly on the basis of their gender and geographic origins — that didn’t make it through a full term.
On the other hand, if the male-heavy gender balance on the board is to blame for these resignations, perhaps a bit of enforced balancing may help maintain a stable board in future.
It’s a tricky one.
Currently, only four of the (currently) 20-member board are female. Three have voting rights. Of those three, two were selected by NomCom. The third was elected by the At-Large.
Two of them have been on the board for less than a week, having been selected or elected for terms beginning last Thursday.
It seems likely that Madruga-Forti’s permanent replacement will turn out to be female. Just a hunch.
What do you think? Is ICANN too blokey? How important should gender balance be on the ICANN board?