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Women in the News + Twitch's Take on Free Speech

October 28: Badass women and the news that affects them

Mitra Norowzi
Contributor

Company culture

  • In sharp contrast to recent revelations about Facebook’s (4.0 stars) fact-checking regulations (hint: there basically aren’t any...not even for political advertisements) live-streaming platform Twitch (3.2 stars) has announced plans to beef up its moderation policy. Of issues raised about limiting free speech through moderation, CEO Emmett Shear told The Verge’s Bijan Stephen there’s a difference between a country and platform like theirs. “It’s very explicitly not a free speech platform,” Shear said. “I hope people can express themselves. I hope they can share their ideas, share their thoughts. But we’re not a platform for free speech. We are not upholding the First Amendment. That’s the government’s job. We’re a community. And communities have standards for how you have to behave inside that community.” The Verge 

  • The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that cult beauty brand Sunday Riley had its employees write fake positive reviews of the company’s products on Sephora’s (3.2 stars) website using VPNs to avoid detection. However, Sunday Riley’s settlement with the FTC doesn’t require the brand to admit guilt or pay a fine, only that it promise not to post fake reviews in the future. BuzzFeed

  • Last week, Procter and Gamble (3.7 stars) decided to remove the circle-and-cross Venus symbol (traditionally, the “female” symbol) from the packaging of Always menstrual products in order to be more inclusive of transgender men and nonbinary people who use their period products. The move sparked both celebration and criticism (doesn’t everything these days?). Those in opposition claim the symbol’s removal oppresses cis women and P&G is allowing trans activists to force its hand. This article explains what really happened. Vice 

  • But, while it’s nice to see more inclusivity in packaging, let’s not forget that Always was also in the news this week after being accused of selling substandard menstrual pads  in Kenya. Lower quality than its standard products, the pads have allegedly caused rashes, burns, and other discomfort. BBC 

  • Citigroup (3.4 stars) has named Jane Fraser as its next CEO, becoming the first larger U.S. bank to definitively arrange for a woman to serve as its leader. NY Times

Quick Hits

  • U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) has announced that she will resign from Congress amid an ethics investigation surrounding allegations that she had romantic relationships with two members of her staff. Accusations that Hill had sexual relationships with her legislative director Graham Kelly, as well as with a young female staffer on her campaign, originally surfaced on RedState, a conservative website. RedState published a series of screenshots said to be text messages between Hill’s husband, Kenny Heslep (with whom she’s in divorce proceedings), and the staffer in question that suggest Hill exhibited some sort of abusive behavior toward her. Hill admitted to having a relationship with the staffer, but denies any involvement with Graham. A code of conduct adopted by Congress last year forbids members from sexual relationships with their staff. It does not explicitly include campaign staff such as the young staffer Hill admits to having had a relationship with, but the ethics committee still elected to investigate the nature of the relationship. However, the situation is complicated by the RedState’s publishing of nude photos said to be of Hill and the staffer, which Hill said she suspects is revenge porn at the hands of her estranged husband. It’s a convoluted situation fraught with abuses of power by multiple parties, but Vox’s Anna North lays everything out really well in this explainer piece. Vox

  • A new study suggests that paid family leave isn’t entirely a fix-all for gender inequity in the workplace, The Washington Post reports. The study analyzed the effects of California’s 2004 Paid Family Leave Act, which offered parents six weeks of partially paid leave and found that first-time mothers’ unemployment increased by 7 percent and earned 8 percent less in annual wages six to 10 years after they gave birth. But the study’s results don’t mean that paid family leave is bad—parents deserve time to care for their children without leaving their jobs or income. They’re just an indicator that paid leave needs other factors, like affordable child care, the elimination of the motherhood penalty and gender pay gap, and for cultural norms to encourage more fathers to take on caregiving roles in order to be most effective. The Washington Post

  • According to an analysis by executive recruiter Spencer Stuart, for the first time women hold more than 25 percent of board seats among S&P 500 companies. Bloomberg

Around the World

  • Northern Ireland: British lawmakers have finally lifted restrictions on same-sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland, bringing the region’s policies in line with those elsewhere in the United Kingdom. CNN  

  • Spain: Nearly 200 women football players of Spain’s first division have voted to strike after more than a year of failed negotiations over pay and conditions between unions and football clubs. BBC

  • Vatican City: The majority of 180 Catholic bishops from nine Amazonian countries called for the Vatican to reopen the debate on whether women can be ordained as deacons during a three-week synod on the Amazon region. Pope Francis agreed to open a 2016 commission that had been tasked with studying the possibility of women deacons, angering opponents of female leadership in the Church. Bloomberg

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