Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women CEOs continue to rake it in, Serena Williams takes her first tech board seat, and women are struggling under $833 billion in student debt. Have a productive Thursday.
• Drowning in debt. While women now account for a slight majority of U.S. college students (56%), they are even further ahead on a far less positive education metric: student debt. Women are accountable for $833 billion—or nearly two-thirds—of the nation’s $1.3-trillion student debt.
On average, female bachelor’s degree students take out more than men who are earning the same degree—and the figure is even higher for female students who are African American. Women also graduate with more debt than men do and, thanks in large part to the gender wage gap, pay off it off more slowly and report more financial hardship while doing so.
While there’s no simple fix for this problem, Anne Hedgepeth, a senior government relations manager at the American Association of University Women, which conducted the study, has some suggestions. Colleges and universities should push for greater state and federal investments so fewer students need to borrow so much, and Congress could strengthen and expand the federal Pell Grant program. Offering services like on-campus child care could also help, she says. For students who are also mothers, having a convenient and affordable child care option can be the difference between graduating on time and trying to pay off a student loan without a diploma.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The 21 club. The latest executive pay data-crunch from Equilar and the AP finds that female CEOs in the S&P 500 out-earned their male counterparts last year—as they have in years past. There’s one simple (and persistent) reason why this news is less exciting that you might think: sample size. The list includes just 21 women.
• Survey says…Serena! Serena Williams is making her first foray into the tech world by joining the board of SurveyMonkey. The match was made by Sheryl Sandberg, who also sits on the online survey company’s board. She and her late husband, Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey’s former CEO, were longtime friends of Williams.
• Imagine that. Hillary Clinton weighed in on the Trump budget, saying that the plan “shows an unimaginable level of cruelty and lack of imagination and disdain for the struggles of millions of Americans, including millions of children.”
• Ellen stands up. Ellen DeGeneres announced that she’s teaming up with Netflix for a new stand-up special—her first in 15 years.
The Hollywood Reporter
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Dems get a double. Democrat Edith DesMarais won a New Hampshire House of Representatives seat and Christine Pellegrino, also a Democrat, won a New York state assembly seat in special elections this week. Both races took place in districts previously under Republican control, leading some to see the win as a sign of things to come in the 2018 midterms.
• What would Angela wear? Designer Gabriela Hearst won one major fashion award this year (the International Woolmark Prize) and is nominated for a second (a Council of Fashion Designers of America nod for Emerging Talent). Hearst, a self-described feminist, says her latest collection was inspired by women like political activist Angela Davis and three senators elected in November: Tammy Duckworth, Kamala Harris, and Catherine Cortez Masto.
• Dear Lady. The Society of Women Engineers has released a trove of astonishing letters directed at women engineering students who had contacted various universities in 1919 about their interest in connecting with other women studying engineering. The responses are worth a read (spoiler: they aren’t exactly encouraging).
• Campion the champ. Oscar-winning director Jane Campion talks about season two of the Elizabeth Moss-led Top of the Lake and the lack of female directors helming big-budget or award-winning films.
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