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Women in the News + Google Memo

August 12: Badass women and the news that affects them

Mitra Norowzi
Freelance Writer

Company Culture

  • Google (3.8 stars) is facing criticism again after an internal memo titled "I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why" went viral last week. In the memo, an employee alleged she faced retaliation and discrimination because of her pregnancy. The note reached more than 10,000 employees, and many readers responded with memes in support of the author. Uh-oh. VICE

  • Victoria’s Secret (3.0 stars) has cast its first openly transgender model after hiring the Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio for a catalog photo shoot. The company’s hiring of Sampaio comes after the brand has faced criticism for its narrow portrayal of body image and femininity as being out of step with what the modern consumer wants. NY Times

In the News

  • The benefits of having a mentor at work are well documented from higher raises to better promotions to increased support in the workplace, and new research from salary website PayScale has established a direct link between mentorship and higher pay for mentees. But the study also revealed another trend—having a white male mentor yields the highest monetary benefits of all. And you know who’s least likely to have a white male mentor? Women of color. Bloomberg

  • Cyntoia Brown, a victim of sex trafficking who served 15 years in prison after killing a man who paid to abuse her, has officially been released from prison. Brown’s case garnered attention as conversations surrounding sex-trafficking victims picked up during the #MeToo movement, with multiple celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West advocating on her behalf. NPR

  • Speaking of effects of the #MeToo movement... A new study from the National Women’s Law Center found that since the movement entered the national stage in 2017, 15 states, including Oregon, New Jersey, Illinois, and New York, have passed new laws protecting employees from sexual harassment and gender discrimination at work. VICE

Quick Hits

  • If you haven’t heard of the mysterious internet investigator known as the Savant, don’t worry. That’s how she likes it. Her anonymity is what allows her to track the most vitriolic online hate groups to stop acts of violence before they happen. Cosmopolitan

  • Toni Morrison, the first black woman to win the Nobel prize in literature, died last week at 88. Her work captured the black—more specially, the black female—experience in a way that hadn’t been done before. And that was truly revolutionary. NY Times

  • After mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, media outlets last week began pointing to a common thread among assailants—a history of expressed hatred toward women. NY Times

  • NBA 2K, a video game franchise that’s been around since 1999, is making moves toward gender diversity, announcing Thursday that all 12 of the WNBA teams will appear in the NBA 2K20 iteration of the game. This is the first time the WNBA has appeared in the games at all (wow), and it comes amid the rising popularity of professional esports–a realm that’s virtually, pun intended, all men. Shout out to Chiquita Evans, the only female in NBA 2K’s pro esports league, for representing. The Lily

Around the World

  • New Zealand: Through a landslide vote, parliament has advanced a bill to decriminalize abortion. As the law currently stands, abortion is technically illegal under a 1960s Crimes Act. A person seeking an abortion must claim that the pregnancy would harm their physical or mental health and have the procedure approved by two doctors. Under the new proposal, these requirements would be removed for abortions prior to 20 weeks, after which the procedure would need to be approved by a doctor. NY Times

  • France: Under a 2013 law, same-sex couples and unmarried women in France are banned from recieving fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and sperm donation. But, President Emmanuel Macron’s administration is drafting a law to change that—proposing to offer some of those services for free. Quartz

  • Kenya: A Kenyan lawmaker was kicked out of the parliamentary chamber last week after bringing her baby to work with her. The male lawmakers who demanded the removal of Zuleikha Hassan and her infant daughter cited a rule that banned “strangers” from the chamber, saying it applied to the child. Hassan was eventually escorted out of the chamber, but some women members also left in solidarity. NY Times

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