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Women in the News + The $15.4 Billion Fertility Industry

January 27: Badass women and the news that affects them

Photo courtesy of TopVectors

Company Culture

  • Amtrak (2.4 stars) has backtracked after the company drew sharp criticism for attempting to bill two passengers using wheelchairs $25,000 for a two-hour train ride. The passengers in question are members of Access Living, a disability service and advocacy organization, and were headed to a statewide conference. The problem is, each Amtrak train car only has one space set aside for persons using wheelchairs, and Access Living and another disability group sending staff to that same conference all wanted to take that particular three-car train. Amtrak had originally said it could accommodate the wheelchair users by taking a train car out of service to unbolt extra seats—but that it would cost the two Access Living riders $25,000 to account for the costs to reconfigure the car. Amtrak eventually reversed course on the exorbitant charge to accommodate all the riders and apologized for the outrageous bill, but a long-term solution by Amtrak to accommodate riders with disabilities and prevent future occurrences of the situation remain to be seen. NPR

  • Goldman Sachs (3.5 stars) CEO David Soloman announced that starting in July, the investment bank will only help companies go public if they have at least one “diverse” board member. Solomon said Goldman Sachs will focus on those companies whose diverse board members are women, and will move to require two diverse board members from companies it helps in 2021. CNBC

  • It’s almost that time of year again—the Super Bowl is so close we can almost smell the buffalo chicken dip. For the first time, this year’s game will feature the 49ers’ Katie Sowers as the first openly LGBTQ assistant coach to work in a Super Bowl. USA Today

  • In other Super Bowl news, the NFL (2.7 stars) has run an ad tackling the subject of police brutality that is slated to air again during the Super Bowl. The ad from 72andSunny (3.6 stars) features retired player Anquan Boldin telling the story of his cousin, Corey Jones, who in 2015 was killed by a Florida police officer dressed in plain clothes while awaiting roadside assistance. It’s an important message, but critics say the choice is a bit hollow considering the league continues to exclude former quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality back in 2016. Ad Age

Quick Hits

  • Sunday night’s Grammy Awards rolled in along a wave of controversy as Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan remains suspended in what she calls an act of retaliation for uncovering misconduct and corruption in the organization. The night’s awards saw big wins for Billie Eilish, who won five awards including best new artist, record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best pop vocal album. Lizzo picked up three wins, including best pop solo performance, best urban contemporary album, and best traditional R&B performance. NY Times

  • According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, more companies than ever have explicit gender identity nondiscrimination protections. That’s a huge deal for transgender employees, who like other members of the LGBTQ community enjoy no federal protections from employment discrimination. The HRC also found that 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies now offer trans-inclusive health care benefits, a far cry from the 0 percent that did the same in 2002. NewNowNext

  • Once viewed as a niche luxury service, the fertility industry is bigger than ever and is estimated to be valued at $15.4 billion by 2023. This piece by Fortune’s Beth Kowitt takes a deep dive into everything from IVF to femtech startups. Fortune 

Around the World

  • Greece: Greek lawmakers have elected Aikaterini Sakellaropoulou as the country’s next president of the republic. While the role is largely ceremonial, Sakellaropoulou’s election marks the first time a woman will serve as a head of state in the country. Bloomberg 

  • India: Women are leading the protest movement against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which has been decried by critics as blatantly anti-Muslim. Braving the cold, women young and old have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers to protest the law, which could result in millions of Muslims being declared illegal aliens in their own country. The Guardian

  • Brazil: Brazil’s far-right government helmed by President Jair Bolsonaro has consulted with religious groups to formulate a new sexual education campaign that advocates an abstinence-only approach. Critics of the campaign argue that the separation of church and state in Brazil is being blurred and that the message does not serve to help prevent teen pregnancy or the transmission of STDs, both of which remain a problem in the country. NY Times

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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