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Male Fra-Gillette-y, Better Banking, a Comeback for Millennial Women, and More

January 23: Badass women and the news that affects them

 

Company Culture

  • Self-driving car company Zoox will become the first autonomous vehicle tech firm to be led by a woman when Aicha Evans is named CEO next month. Evans previously served as Intel’s chief strategy officer. Senegalese-born Evans will also become one of the few African-Americans to lead a tech firm. Forbes

  • Gillette is the latest company to try at its hand at progressive messaging with the release of a hotly contested commercial that implores men to take action against acts of toxic masculinity, showing scenes of men intervening in instances of bullying, violence, and sexual harassment. It didn’t take long for the misogynists of the internet to pause their video games, turn away from their incoherent Reddit rants, and wipe the Cheeto dust off their fingers so they could type out vitriolic responses on social media and remind us, yet again, that suggesting men act like decent human beings is too much to ask. On a more positive note — we are more sure than ever that Terry Crews, a sexual assault survivor whose testimony to Congress about men holding each other accountable is featured in the commercial — is the absolute best man ever. GQ

  • Former Morgan Stanley banker Chau Pham has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requesting an investigation into Morgan Stanley’s treatment of women, claiming she was unceremoniously fired 22 days after returning from maternity leave. Pham has written an open letter to the Morgan Stanley’s chief asking to be released from forced arbitration so that she can sue the bank. In the last year, large companies such as Google, Facebook, and Uber decided to allow exceptions to their arbitration policies after employee protests, but the US banking industry has been reluctant to follow suit. Bloomberg

  • While we’re discussing sexism in the banking industry, Citigroup announced last week that its women employees earn 29 percent less than its men. To make matters worse, the bank also admitted that among its US employees, people of color make about 8 percent less than their white counterparts. Sara Wechter, Citigroup’s global head of human resources, said Citigroup’s frank disclosure of these numbers is part of the company’s attempt to build a more diverse and transparent culture. Bloomberg

  • Some better banking news: Although Danske, a Nordic bank, has a reputation for a “mean and lean” male-dominated culture, its Swedish branch is another story. This division is led by CEO Berit Behring, who has some ideas about how to make banking more equal. She plans to implement better networking initiatives for women employees and eliminate gendered language that excludes women customers. Bloomberg

Quick Hits

  • Saturday marked the third annual Women’s March as women and allies took to the streets to protest Trump administration policies. Turnout was lower than the inaugural march, as accusations of anti-Semitism have swirled around its leaders. Beyond the US march, women in other countries, including the UK, Germany, and Italy staged their own marches to protest the rise of nationalism and far-right governments. NY Times

  • It’s been an exciting few weeks as several women have announced bids for the 2020 presidency. In case you missed a few, here are all the women who have announced their candidacy so far: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii); and —  the latest to toss her hat into the ring — Sen. Kamala Harris (California). NY Times

  • Millennial women, this one’s for you! Since 2016, women aged 24-34 who are employed or seeking employment have accounted for 86 percent of growth in the workforce of women in their prime working age (25 to 54 years old). Even more significant, millennial women account for 46 percent of gains in the prime-age labor pool as a whole, which includes all 25- to 54-year old men. While men still have a higher rate of labor participation compared to women (89.1 percent compared to women’s 76.8 percent) they have still not caught up to their pre-recession rate — women have far surpassed ours. Oh, and shoutout to single moms for having the biggest post-recession comeback of any women’s group! Bloomberg

  • California has become the latest state to ban the usage of gender in car insurance risk assessments. New male drivers tend to pay higher premiums than average, as do women over 25. This new legislation would help even the discrepancies for all genders. NY Times

Entertainment

  • Grammy Award-winning artist Missy Elliot made history Saturday, becoming the first woman hip-hop musician to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Okay Missy, “Work It!” Huffington Post

  • The world lost a cherished voice with the death of 83-year-old poet Mary Oliver last week. Oliver’s poetry was often quiet, but always deeply affecting as it explored themes of nature, the human form, love (Oliver had a 40-year-long partnership with photographer Molly Malone Cook), a sort of non-religious spirituality and the simple joys of being alive. She leaves behind many beautiful words, but some that are particularly poignant are these: “What is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” The New Yorker

Around the World

  • Spain: Carme Font, a lecturer in English Literature at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, has been awarded a €1.5m ($1.75m) grant by the European Research Council to uncover texts written by women from 1500-1780. With the grant, Font will hire five full-time project staff to help her comb through archives of largely-ignored writings by women from this period so they will finally receive the recognition denied to them for centuries. We can’t wait to see what she finds! The Guardian

  • Scotland: After a 12-year-long legal saga, thousands of women council workers in Glasgow will receive payouts that altogether could add up to more than £500m ($648m). The dispute stems from a 2006 job evaluation initiative that claimed to address gender pay inequality — the women affected say it resulted in lower pay for female-dominated professions. It was a hard-won battle for the women of Glasgow, 8,000 of whom took part in the largest equal-pay strike the UK had ever seen in October. BBC

  • Japan: Female members of the royal family will not be allowed to participate in a key ritual as Emperor Akihito hands over the throne to his son, Prince Naruhito. Japan’s monarchy has long excluded women and forces female royalty to abdicate their titles, becoming ordinary citizens when they marry. But there are faint glimmers of hope for progress in this patriarchal system. Japan’s only female cabinet member will observe the ceremony, since female observation is allowed. Bloomberg

By Mitra Norowzi

Digest
 

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