Good morning, Broadsheet readers. As Shonda Rhimes gears up to take over primetime television tonight, find out the smartest question she may have ever asked. Read on for a look at Time’s new Mary Barra cover, and to hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s thoughts on retirement. Have a great Thursday!
• Female pilot leads airstrikes against ISIS. Major Mariam Al Mansouri was the first female fighter pilot to join the United Arab Emirates’ Air Force once it began accepting women. Serving as the team leader in the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, Mansouri also is the first woman from an Arab nation to fly a combat mission. “It was my aspiration,” she told a local news outlet. “Ever since I finished high school, I wanted to learn flying because it was something that I liked in the first place.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The mechanic. Time features GM CEO Mary Barra on its latest cover and details her plan to fix the antiquated company. The Detroit automaker has recalled more than 30 million cars to date, and now Barra must tackle both GM’s product as well as cultural problems. (Fortune also looked into Barra’s attempt to fix GM’s infamous culture in the Most Powerful Women issue.) “I hate the word culture, because it’s like this thing that sits out there. What is it? It’s how we behave. It’s the stories we tell about the company,” she tells Time. Barra will be interviewed by Fortune Editor Alan Murray on October 8th at the Fortune MPW Summit.
• Cracks in the glass? The percentage of women on corporate boards in the European Union has risen to a record 18.6%. EU Justice Commissioner Martine Reicherts was encouraged by these results, claiming that “cracks have started to show in the glass ceiling.” Separately, a Credit Suisse report found that, overall, large companies with at least one woman on the board of directors outperformed those that had no women by 26%.
• Google’s murky diversity strategy. The tech giant doesn’t have a timeline for when its workforce might become more representative of the population, and it doesn’t have clear metrics in place to mark progress. “It’s going to be important that Google not just give a lecture about the science, but that there be active strategies on how to mitigate bias,” a source told the New York Times.
• Young mother shakes up UN Climate Summit. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year-old mother from the Marshall Islands, recited a poem she wrote for her 7-month-old daughter at the UN Climate Summit this week. The poem, which expressed fears that climate change would destroy her tiny Pacific nation, moved many in the audience to tears. “We look at our children and wonder how they will know themselves or their culture, should they lose our islands,” she said.
• Meet the two women transforming Beijing’s skyline. Zhang Xin, the CEO of SOHO China—one of the country’s most high-profile real estate firms—and Zaha Hadid, a renowned architect whose work peppers countless cities’ skylines, talked about their business partnership during the celebration of the opening of their newest collaboration: Wangjing SOHO.
• ‘Costco for health insurance.’ Betty Heiman created Transparent Healthcare in 2009 with the goal of providing access to a price-transparent health network that could be used by the undocumented, the uninsured and those whose insurance featured massive deductibles. “We are Costco for health insurance,” Heiman says. The discounts themselves average approximately 20% off of the Medicare rate.
• NFL brand hits rock bottom. Dawn Hudson, the NFL’s newly appointed marketing director, has her work cut out for her. On a scale from 100 to negative 100, the NFL’s “Buzz Score” is currently negative 42 — the league’s lowest score in more than two years.
The smartest question Shonda Rhimes ever asked
Tonight, Shonda Rhimes takes over primetime.
The creator and executive producer of television’s enjoyably messy Thursday night dramas—Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal —is adding one more show to her repertoire. How To Get Away With Murder, a legal series starring Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis as a criminal law professor, will join ABC’s Thursday night line-up.
Rhimes didn’t create the new show—Scandal co-executive producer Peter Nowalk did. But her production company, Shondaland, is listed in the credits.
Over the years, Rhimes has gained a huge fan base for her knack for writing conflicted, yet likable characters. She’s as much of a Hollywood icon as the stars of her shows.
But what first led to Rhimes’ success was her ability to make the Disney and ABC execs happy without sacrificing her creative integrity. Many writers scoff at the idea of listening to business executives when developing an idea. Not Rhimes. Shortly before Grey’s premiere, she was working with ABC Studios on a pilot about female war correspondents. Then the country went to war, and it was no longer such a good idea.
“I very astutely said, ‘What does Bob Iger want, what is he looking for?’” Rhimes recalled, referring to Disney’s CEO. She was told he wanted a hospital drama—and so Grey’s was born.
To read Leahey’s full story on Fortune.com, click here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Female veterans left behind. As the number of women serving in the armed forces increases, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs still lags behind in services for female vets. Women, who made up about 210,000 of the 1.79 million veterans who have served since 2001, have different experiences than their male counterparts both during and after service, according to a report.
• Spain needs an attitude check. After making a brash comment about women who make false rape claims, the Mayor of Valladolid, Spain, apologized for his “unfortunate words.” Yet many women in the city claim his remarks point to a larger problem of violence against women in Spain. The problem “starts with a lack of education about the importance of gender equality; it then turns into insulting comments by politicians against women and ends up with actual violence against women,” says an expert.
• When bosses discriminate. The number of workplace discrimination cases against mothers appears to be moving in the wrong direction. In 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received a 30% increase in complaints from new moms compared to the previous decade. “There’s a common misperception out there that women try to use their pregnant condition to bilk extra money from their employers, when in reality, it’s the opposite,” a source told The Atlantic.
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|Anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they're misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam.... I think I'll recognize when the time comes that I can't any longer. But now I can.|
|-- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, shares her thoughts on retirement. Meanwhile, some critics think her time to retire is now.|