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Women in the News + New Data on U.S. Maternal Mortality

February 3: Badass women and the news that affects them

Image courtesy of SpicyTruffel

Company Culture

  • JP Morgan Chase (3.3 stars) has opened its first bank designed to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community in Washington, D.C. The bank will offer assistive technologies including an on-demand video remote interpreting service, digital screens with captions, remote control cameras that will allow employees to communicate with customers on screens, and T-loop Bluetooth technology that will allow employees to speak directly with customers. We love to see it! More inclusive businesses, please! ABC

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (2.8 stars) was ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million in fines last week after authorities accused the chain of routinely violating Massachusetts child labor laws. The Massachusetts attorney general’s office estimated that Chipotle violated child labor laws 13,253 times across 50 locations in the state, including allowing 16- and 17-year-old employees to work more than nine hours per day and more than 48 hours per week. NY Times

  • Jan Singer, a former chief executive at Victoria’s Secret, has been hired as the next CEO of J.Crew Group, the parent company of J.Crew (3.2 stars) and Madewell (3.3 stars). As CEO, Singer will face the mammoth task of improving the health of the company which has seen years of declining sales. Fortune

  • Speaking of Victoria’s Secret (3.0 stars), this The New York Times investigation details years of abuses stemming from a culture of misogyny, inappropriate conduct, and harassment propagated by Leslie Wexner, CEO of the chain’s parent company L Brands, and Ed Razek, an executive regarded as Wexner’s second-in-command. NY Times

Quick Hits

  • According to a Bloomberg analysis, hedge funds controlled or managed by a minority or woman leader have returns almost double that of their peers. On average, the funds controlled by women and minorities see average returns of about 6.6 percent compared to returns of about 3.9 percent garnered by those controlled by white men. Bloomberg

  • Gwen Ifill, the legendary journalist who broke gender and racial barriers to make history as the first Black woman to host a nationally televised news program in the U.S., will be honored as the face of a new U.S. Postal Service Forever stamp. Ifill, who died of cancer nearly three years ago at 61, will be memorialized as the 43rd stamp in the postal service’s Black Heritage Series. NPR

  • According to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018. In other words, 658 women died due to complications from pregnancy or birth that year—more than every other similarly developed country. Black women faced the worst maternal mortality rate, being 2.5 times more likely to die than white women, likely as a result of institutional and medical racism, as well as a lack of access to prenatal care. The report is the first time the U.S. has standardized its maternal mortality data across all 50 states. NBC

  • In 17 states, people with criminal convictions are automatically barred, either permanently or temporarily, from changing their name. These laws were not specifically designed to prevent transgender people from changing their names, but it is an unfortunate consequence of such policy. Transgender people who are incarcerated in these states are forced to go by their deadnames or birth names, and upon their release from prison can face increased discrimination and risk of violence when their identification does not communicate their gender or match their appearance when applying for jobs, recieving medical care, visiting the bank, or interacting with law enforcement. Vox

Around the World

  • South Africa: A landmark High Court victory will grant some 400,000 black South African women property rights. Although current South African law stipulates that married couples own assets jointly and must both consent to major transactions, black women who got married before 1988 had virtually no property rights. Under the old law, the husband owned all matrimonial assets and could sell them without the consent of his wife. Particularly for rural black women, who face patriarchal customary laws in addition to the lingering racism of apartheid, the ruling will grant greater economic freedom. Reuters

  • Taiwan: With the swearing in of its most recently elected class of women legislators, women now make up 42 percent of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, officially making it the most equitable governing body in Asia. This advancement in women’s representation in Taiwan’s government speaks to the success of a quota system that was amended in 2000 to raise the proportion of legislative seats reserved for women to a quarter. Al Jazeera 

  • Japan: Sumo wrestling, a sport steeped in ritual and custom, has traditionally been strictly a man’s realm. But that’s slowly changing as more Japanese women attempt to break into the sport. The Washington Post

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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