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Women in the News + Airbnb Takes a Stand

December 23: Badass women and the news that affects them

Photo courtesy of Nadezhda

Company Culture

  • Some of the world’s largest tech companies have been named in a child labor suit that alleges Apple (3.5 stars), Dell (3.5 stars), Microsoft (3.4 stars), Tesla (2.9 stars), and Google parent company Alphabet (3.8 stars) knowingly profited from child exploitation in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt is one of the main materials used in the production of rechargeable lithium batteries for cell phones and electric vehicles. The suit claims that increased manufacturing of lithium batteries in the past 20 years has “brought on a new wave of brutal exploitation” for the DRC, a country that still bears a bloody colonial legacy. MarketWatch

  • Ever felt nervous about using Airbnb (3.7 stars), unsure about the kind of people you might be staying with? This might help you sleep easier. The short-term rental company recently banned over 60 members of the defunct white supremacist group Iron March after the organization had its database exposed online. But this isn’t the first time the company has taken action to prevent white supremacists from using its platform. Airbnb also took action to remove attendees and organizers of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017, and those planning to attend a conference hosted by hate group American Renaissance earlier this year. An Airbnb spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement: “This was a no-brainer—when we see people on our platform pursuing behavior antithetical to our Community Commitment, we take action to prioritize the safety of our community.” Gizmodo

  • Fortune just released its list of “100 Best Places for Workplace Diversity,” and Stryker (3.5 stars), a medical technology company, tops the list, followed by Cisco (3.7 stars) and Progressive Insurance (4.0 stars)

  • Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso is selling the platform to Attention Capital, a new media holding company that is eager to revamp the status quo of established media outlets and become “the next IAC, Condé Nast, or News Corp.” Fast Company 

Quick Hits

  • Gender disparities abound in the world of academia, with women in the sciences earning less money, receiving fewer professorships, and snagging less research money than their male counterparts. A new study from the Harvard Business Review has found that men and women differ in how they present and promote their own scientific findings and publications. Perhaps unsurprisingly in light of recent research regarding the gender dynamics of confidence and self-promotion, male scientists were more likely than women scientists to use positive language like “novel,” “unique,” and “unprecedented” to describe their research. But this isn’t merely an issue of semantics—academia is competitive and articles with more intense self-promotion may garner more attention in a crowded field. If women for whatever reason don’t feel they have the latitude to promote their work at the same level as men, they may miss out on vital funding and opportunities. HBR

  • For the first time, the 2.1 million people employed by the federal government are now eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave following childbirth, adoption, or becoming a foster parent. But could such a mandate for the private sector be even remotely possible in the near future? The Washington Post 

  • The prospects for gender equity as a whole, however, are looking undeniably bleak. According to the World Economic Forum, the economic gender gap will take 257 years to close, up from the 202 years it predicted to do the same in 2018. The WEF attributes the slowdown to technological changes, with women disproportionately occupying roles that stand to be hit hardest by automation and fewer women entering fields where wages are growing fastest, such as cloud computing, engineering, data and AI, and product development. Bloomberg

  • Twenty-five years after its release, Mariah Carey’s Christmas anthem “All I Want for Christmas Is You” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first song to take so long to do so and the first Christmas song in 60 years to top the chart. The song is Carey’s 19th No. 1, putting her only one hit below The Beatles, the current record holders. NY Times

Around the World

  • United Kingdom: J.K. Rowling is facing backlash after posting a tweet that many are calling transphobic. Upon first read, the tweet appears fairly innocuous, but her use of the hashtag #IStandWithMaya refers to Maya Forstater, a U.K. tax expert who recently lost a case with the Employment Tribunals in London, where she sued her former workplace for not renewing her contract after she repeatedly invalidated the rights of transgender women. Judge James Tayler ruled, “[I]f a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate that person is legally a woman. That is not something that the Claimant is entitled to ignore.” VICE

  • Japan: A judge has ordered former Tokyo Broadcasting System Washington Bureau Chief Noriyuki Yamaguchi to pay Shiori Ito, a journalist who accussed him of rape in 2015, about $30,000 in damages. Ito became the face of the country’s #MeToo movement when she went public with her account of the assault, but until now, Yamaguchi never faced legal consequences for the attack, which Ito’s supporters attributed to his close ties to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. NPR 

  • Afghanistan: Suraya Shaheedi is one of the few women tattoo artists in conservative Afghanistan. The 26-year-old divorced single mother receives death threats for her work, with many in the country viewing tattoos as “haram,” or forbidden by religion. But that hasn’t stopped her from operating her mobile tattoo shop in Kabul and practicing the art form she loves. AP

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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