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  1. Blog
  2. News
  3. December 2, 2019

Women in the News + An Ousted Whistleblower

December 2: Badass women and the news that affects them

Women in the News + An Ousted Whistleblower
  • Gabrielle Union, a former judge on NBC’s (3.3 stars) variety show America’s Got Talent , was reportedly ousted after reporting sexist and racist behavior at the company. In one circumstance, Union sought to report a derogatory remark by Jay Leno to human resources but her report was never followed up on. More toxic culture manifested on set when Union was criticized for wearing different hairstyles, a practice deemed “too black” for the audience of America’s Got Talent . Essence

  • State Street Global Advisors (3.1 stars) , the financial firm that purchased the original “Fearless Girl” statue that has enchanted and inspired women and girls with her defiant pose, is going to court over what it calls “unauthorized” replicas of the artwork. According to State Street’s lawyers, the replicas are a trademark violation and dilute the company’s message, and the firm will be seeking unspecified damages. The firm even went as far as to sue Kristen Visbal, the artist who created “Fearless Girl,” for selling unauthorized copies in other cities. Critics say State Street’s actions run counter to the statue’s purpose of empowering women and have pointed out the firm’s poor track record on women’s issues. NY Times

  • Carolina Dybeck Happe was named as the new CFO at General Electric (3.4 stars) and will also lead the company's digital technology and global operations. CNN

Quick Hits

  • You’ve probably heard a lot about what’s been dubbed the “business case” for gender diversity on boards—we’ve written about it several times, as have many other outlets. In a nutshell, analyses from organizations such as McKinsey & Co. reported a correlation between board diversity and positive financial performance, and this business case for diversity became a rallying call for proponents of gender equity. But results from a new study by INSEAD business school researchers is casting doubt on such a phenomenon. According to the study’s analysis of 14 years of market returns across about 1,889 companies, those that appointed even one additional woman director experienced two years of stock declines, with their market values falling an average of 2.3 percent. These kinds of results are hard to swallow, but an important finding of the study was that these declines were not due to performance from women directors or poor health of companies, but bias from investors, who penalized companies they perceived as prioritizing social goals over shareholder returns. Of course, equity should be pursued for its own sake regardless of profitability but for those who do care about that kind of thing, studies like INSEAD’s need to be interpreted with nuance. Bloomberg

  • From her former role serving as a Georgia lawmaker to her current voting rights advocacy and a potential vice presidential candidacy in 2020, Stacey Abrams is a political powerhouse. But did you know she’s also a published author? Abrams has written eight novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery, one of which will be heading to the small screen on CBS. A TV adaptation, which Abrams will executive produce, of her 2004 novel Never Tell about a linguistics professor and an investigative journalist who team up to solve a missing persons case will be written by Talicia Raggs, a co-executive producer of NCIS: New Orleans . Hollywood Reporter

  • Hera Jay Brown is now the first transgender woman to be named as a Rhodes Scholar. The prestigious scholarship, which covers at least two years of schooling at Oxford University, was established in 1902, although women have only been eligible to apply since 1976. At Oxford, Brown plans to study forced migration and asylum, drawing parallels to her own experience losing her family and home after coming out as a teenager. Forbes

Around the World

  • Africa, overall: Africa as a continent leads all other regions in having the highest proportion of women on company boards. On average, 1 in 4 company board members across Africa are women, compared to the global average of 17 percent female representation on boards. However, although African women lead the way in senior management, representation is more average in mid and lower level positions. Bloomberg

  • South Korea: The death of K-pop star Goo Hara, who is suspected to have died by suicide, has reignited public outcry against government inaction on “spy camera” cases where men secretly collect sensitive footage of women to blackmail them with or to distribute without their consent. Goo’s ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, who was accused of attempting to blackmail her with footage collected while they were intimate, was acquitted of the charge in August. Washington Post

  • United Kingdom: According to Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, gender equality in the number of judges in the UK will be achieved by 2033 at the current rate of progress. This is especially good news considering a senior judge in the 1980s predicted parity would not be reached for another 200 years! The Guardian

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Mitra Norowzi


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