Good morning, Broadsheet readers. As Fortune Most Powerful Woman Shonda Rhimes plans a fundraiser tonight for President Obama, we take a deeper dive into why the money gap in politics between men and women may be a good thing. Here are today’s top stories:
• David Cameron can’t shake pay issue. The UK Prime Minister, in an effort to boost the number of women in his Cabinet, named Tina Stowell last week Leader of the House of Lords. Controversy began to brew when it was revealed that Stowell was asked to do the job for $38,000 less than was earned by her male predecessor. Cameron attempted to resolve the problem by offering to make up the difference himself with party funds, but Stowell has refused to take the raise. Cameron remains subject to criticism on why Stowell wasn’t paid equally in the first place.
• Another Cameron – Susan, the CEO of tobacco giant Reynolds American – has a new enemy. Her company may soon have to face state attorneys general who are rallying for closer regulation of e-cigarettes. The product is becoming popular among younger smokers, and officials believe candy-flavored versions and advertisements at sporting events may have something to do with it.
IN THE HEADLINES
• President Obama’s Scandalous dinner plans. Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the ABC television thriller Scandal, tonight will host President Obama in her home for a $32,400-per-plate fundraiser. Rhimes, who was named to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List in 2013, will co-host the event along with Scandal actress Kerry Washington. We’d love to see that dinner conversation play into next season’s lineup.
• Tech startups are perplexed by women. As more and more startups focus on hobbies, crafts and fashion, the shortage of women in executive positions is becoming a problem. The so-called “instinct gap” is making it difficult for male tech founders to instinctually build products that female customers enjoy. As more and more founders find their ideas are failing in the marketplace, my hunch is that more women will enter the industry with winning ideas.
Why the money gap in politics may be a good thing
Yesterday, Politico revealed that men are far outpacing women when it comes to raising money for political candidates. The top 20 male political donors have given a combined $62.6 million this election cycle compared with just $11.2 million from the top female donors during the same period. “It is absolutely male-dominated,” says major Democratic donor Heather Podesta. Here’s why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
One explanation for the gap is that old-school methods of fundraising don’t work with the ever-growing group of women who have plenty of money to donate. While women often prefer building relationships with candidates so they know where the money is going, men are willing to write a check and walk way. “I purposely take time to reach out to women, speak directly with them on priorities, to engage them and get women to understand that decisions are made in Washington every day, and if they aren’t a part of it they may not like the results,” says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Yet isn’t that a conversation politicians should be having with every donor — regardless of gender? As spending on U.S. elections comes close to surpassing $7 billion compared with $1.6 billion in 1998, perhaps men could take a page from their female counterparts’ books and listen before throwing money at the issues.
Indeed, getting more women involved in the political donation process is a critical component to having their voices heard in office after Election Day is over. Yet focusing more on who has the best ideas, as opposed to who has the fattest wallet, increases the likelihood of changing some of the political gridlock we are now seeing on Capitol Hill.
We already have seen that getting more women involved in the conversation elevates performance in the private sector. Having just one woman on the board of a large company can make a positive difference, according to new research from The University of Vancouver. Female executives tend to promote communication and show a greater attention to detail, which leads to better financial results.
Sounds to me like a case study that both the Democratic and Republican parties should figure out how to capitalize on.
Did The Broadview hit the mark? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Why doesn’t the U.S. have “daddy months?” Sweden encourages dads to take paternity leave by giving parents a free month of leave for taking the time off work that they’re entitled to. When Germany adopted a similar policy, the share of fathers taking time off to help care for the children jumped from 3% to 20%. This resulted in higher levels of income and reported happiness for women.
• Female tech workers are gaming the gender wage gap. The gender pay gap is closing faster in the gaming industry than in other professions. On average, women working in gaming earn 86 cents for every dollar men earn as opposed to the national average of about 77 cents. Researchers contribute the narrower pay gap to the flexibility in work schedules in the gaming industries, creating a more level playing field for women who want to balance families with their career.
• Beyonce’s not bossy. She’s the boss. The pop singer continued to use her platform to promote feminism. On Tuesday, she Instagrammed a photo of herself as Rosie the Riveter. The photo erupted on social media, giving the phrase “girl power” a whole new meaning.
WHAT I'M READING
Did Susan Wojcicki try to buy Spotify?
A Texas businesswoman builds homes for undocumented migrant children
Japan is a long way away from leaning in
Pioneer female television producer Madeline Amgott dies
Chief happiness officers at work may become a privacy problem
|Women in the public arena should grow skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros. I have certainly, as you can tell, have had to learn how to do that. There's a lot of good moisturizers I can tell you about if you're interested.|
|-- Hillary Clinton, in A Twitter forum moderated by Twitter Vice President of global media, Katie Stanton, answering questions from the #AskHillary hashtag|