Good morning, Broadsheet readers. IBM is joining the global fight against Ebola, and Nike is coming out strong against domestic violence. Read on to learn why the U.S. just can’t seem to get ahead in the race to close the gender gap. Have a great Tuesday!
• IBM tackles Ebola. Big Blue, led by CEO Ginni Rometty, is donating data resources to the governments of Nigeria and Sierra Leone to enable citizens to report outbreaks and ask questions via text message. The global tech giant also created hotlines for people to ask for supplies or request an ambulance.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Nike ‘strongly’ talks with NFL on domestic violence. As the athletic apparel giant invests heavily in its women’s business, it also is speaking “very directly” with the NFL about how it handled the domestic violence controversies this past summer. “We certainly have those conversations with them, and we’re very, very clear about it,” Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand, said Monday. “We cannot tolerate domestic violence or any of these issues, and they’re serious issues. They’re serious for sports but they’re also serious for society at large.”
• Clinton backpedals on jobs comment. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary Clinton said on Friday. The comment sent big business and Wall Street reeling. On Monday, Clinton said she “shorthanded” what she really meant to say. “Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in an America where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas,” she clarified.
• Beyoncé shows biz chops with new deal. The music icon turned business mogul is partnering with British apparel brand Topshop to design a line of sportswear. Unlike other celebrities who have nabbed clothing contracts, Beyoncé is going into the venture as a 50/50 partner with Topshop.
• Indian hedge fund manager told to get a ‘sugar daddy.’ When Nandita Agarwal Parker started her hedge fund a decade ago, potential investors would ask her questions about her children and husband as opposed to her fund’s strategy. “A fund-of-funds guy told me ‘Honey, what you need is a sugar daddy,’” she told Bloomberg. Parker now runs the best-performing India-focused hedge fund with $70 million in assets, and she aims to boost it sevenfold to $500 million.
• Get scared. As we’ve seen from some of the world’s top leaders, adversity makes people stronger, says Camille Preston, founder and CEO of AIM Leadership. Rather than shy away from terrifying moments, use them as an opportunity to develop true grit. “Grit—courage and firmness in the face of hardship—is the single biggest factor to overcoming obstacles, setbacks, challenges and adversity,” writes Preston.
• MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national managing partner of diversity and corporate responsibility at KPMG LLP in Chicago, is now national board president of Girl Scouts of the USA… Jody Allen, the sister of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is leaving the CEO post at Vulcan, the investment firm that manages her brother’s wealth.
The U.S. is losing the global fight for gender equality
The gap in economic opportunity between American men and women is narrowing, but the U.S. still can’t seem to get ahead in the global race for equality.
The United States came in at No. 20 out of 142 countries in this year’s ranking of gender equality by the World Economic Forum. It marks a comeback of sorts for the nation after having slipped out of the top 20 for the past two years.
First introduced by the WEF in 2006, the Global Gender Gap Index is a measurement of gender-based disparities in individual countries tracked over time. The organization ranks countries based on the progress they’ve made to close the gender gap in four categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. The highest possible score on the index is 1 and means that a nation has fully eradicated the gender gap in every measured category. No country has actually done so.
Iceland, where 20 out of the past 50 years there has been a female head of state, ranked No. 1 on WEF’s index with a score of .859. The country was closely followed by its Nordic neighbors: Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The U.S. finished with a score of .746, putting it behind countries like Canada, South Africa and France, but ahead of other developed countries like the United Kingdom and Australia.
What is more surprising is that the U.S. ranks lower than some countries with considerably less economic development. Rwanda and Nicaragua both have less than $9 billion in GDP, but both rank among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to gender equality. The index measures gender disparities in access to resources and opportunities, regardless of overall resource availability and level of economic development.
“Both rich countries and poor countries can afford gender equality,” World Economic Forum Senior Director Saadia Zahidi said in an interview with Fortune. “Gender equality doesn’t have to only come along once a country is fully developed.”
Click over to Fortune.com to read my full story.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Cable TV empowers women. After cable TV is introduced into rural communities around the world, women report higher levels of autonomy and fewer cases of domestic violence. Although certainly not conclusive, the finding falls in line with other studies that suggest cable TV can change how men and women view gender relations.
• Do educated women have more children? There has been a big uptick in the fertility rates of highly-educated American women in the last three decades, according to a study to be published in the Economic Journal. The study’s authors argue that growing income inequality in the country is creating two groups of women: “Those who can afford to buy help to raise their children and run their homes and those who are willing to supply such services at affordable prices.”
• TUNE IN: MAKERS Women In Business. Tonight at 9pm EST, AOL’s MAKERS is premiering its Women in Business documentary about how women have risen to power over the last 50 years. Some of the big names featured are Ursula Burns, Sallie Krawcheck, Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg and Fortune’s own Pattie Sellers.
ON MY RADAR
|I am negatively motivated. So when you tell me I can't do something, I am all over it.|
|-- Carla Harris, a managing director and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley, tells MAKERS.|