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Women in the News + Instacart Shoppers Strike for Safety

March 30: Badass women and the news that affects them

Image courtesy of glorcza

Company Culture

  • Instacart (2.6 stars) shoppers are the latest batch of workers planning a strike amid poor working conditions during the coronavirus outbreak. Today, March 30, Instacart workers say they will refuse to accept orders unless the company offers hazard pay of an additional $5 per order, free safety gear such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and expands its paid sick leave policy to include workers with pre-existing conditions who have been advised by their doctors not to work. The Instacart shoppers say their walkout will last until the company meets their demands and follows similar strikes recently held among Amazon (3.0 stars) workers in Queens, New York, sanitation workers in Pittsburgh, and Perdue Farms (2.1 stars) poultry plant workers in Georgia as they demand safer conditions and fair compensation for their service as essential workers during the pandemic. The Instacart walkout, however, represents the first walkout by gig economy workers, who are among some of the most vulnerable workers to begin with due to their lack of basic labor protections like health care or paid sick days, during the outbreak. VICE

  • A New York judge ruled that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (3.5 stars) can force more than 1,000 women suing the bank over gender bias claims into arbitration. The ruling is a huge blow to the 14-year battle over allegations from more than 3,000 women that Goldman Sachs habitually allowed managers to make biased pay decisions that denied women opportunities in Wall Street. However, Goldman Sachs isn’t walking away totally scot-free—it still faces a class action suit of almost 700 women whose arbitration clauses were not enforceable. Bloomberg

  • This past weekend, the Trump administration announced that Lora Shiao will be the next acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Shiao, a career American intelligence officer, has served as executive director of the center since last year and will be the first woman to head it. NY Times

In the News

  • Last year, the conduct of Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden came under scrutiny after being accused by several women of kissing and touching them inappropriately. In a video statement, Biden apologized, chalking his actions up to being a touchy person who likes to shake hands and hug people, but he acknowledged that “the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset” and promised to change his behavior. Surprisingly, despite this somewhat unsatisfactory apology that laid fault with changing social norms rather than Biden himself, his behavior hasn't come up much on the campaign trail and has since been given little media attention. Now, however, one of the women who initially spoke up has alleged that there was more to the story. Tara Reade, who worked as a staffer for Biden when he was a Delaware senator, said Biden sexually assaulted her by pushing her up against a wall and penetrating her with his fingers. Reade said she reached out to Time’s Up for help earlier this year, but was told by the MeToo organization that it could not support her because Biden is a candidate for federal office, which could jeopardize its nonprofit status. Biden’s campaign has vociferously denied Reade’s claims, and many of his supporters have attacked Reade and her credibility, accusing her of being a Russian plant because of an essay she wrote in 2018 that was favorable to Vladimir Putin. Others have accused her of trying to help President Trump get reelected. Disappointingly, many of these comments come from people who claimed to support other accusers like Christine Blasey Ford. These folks would do well to remember that the phrase “believe women” means taking the care to properly investigate all cases of alleged assault, and not just those against individuals one politically disagrees with, and anti-Trumpers shouldn’t categorically brush off Reade’s claims before they are vetted simply because Trump has more accusations to his name. Vox

  • Here’s an important read examining the uptick of anti-Asian racism as Asians are being unfairly vilified for the coronavirus outbreak. Yale School of Management’s Michael Kraus and Eunice Eun examine how this phenomenon illustrates how the categorization of Asian-Americans as a ‘model minority’ obscured the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the U.S. and caused many to overestimate tolerance for those viewed as foreigners. Eun and Kraus write: “Racial equality, even for seemingly high-status model minority groups, is not something that unfolds automatically with the passage of time. This moment teaches us that economic status gains afforded to some Asian families do not protect them from the bigotry that has risen to the surface with the surge of cases of COVID-19.” Yale Insights 

  • Although the quick transition many workers have had to make to remote work has been jarring, Fast Company’s Carolina Milanesi makes the case to continue the trend even after the coronavirus outbreak clears. Remote work, she argues, can be a boon to diversity, especially for working moms, for disabled people, and to attract racially diverse talent in not-so-diverse parts of the country. Fast Company 

Around the World

  • Egypt: Fans of Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King, meet Egypt’s “Queen of Lions,” Luba el-Helw. El-Helw is a third-generation lion tamer and the granddaughter of the Arab world’s first woman lion tamer. In Egypt, where less than 25 percent of the women work, lion taming stands out as a profession dominated by women—there are six working women lion tamers, and none feature a man in their acts. NY Times

  • South Korea: Police have publicly identified the man they believe to be responsible for running an online network that exploited up to 58 women and 16 girls. Authorities say Cho Ju-bin, 25, forced the women and girls into “virtual enslavement” by offering them money for nude photographs and then blackmailing them into sending degrading and sometimes violent images of themselves. The case is only the latest digital sexual abuse scandal in South Korea, which has been dealing with the widespread issue of secretly filmed explicit images and how to prosecute those crimes. The Guardian

  • Northern Ireland: Under new laws soon to take effect, abortion in Northern Ireland can be performed “without conditionality.” The procedure will be permitted beyond 12 weeks in certain cases, and there will be no time limit regarding cases of fatal fetal abnormalities. Abortion was decriminalized for the first time in Northern Ireland last year, but until now, no legal framework for the procedure had been put in place. BBC

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By Mitra Norowzi

Contributor

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