Melinda Gates' advice to grads

By Kristen Bellstrom
June 8, 2017
June 08, 2017

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Melinda Gates and Michelle Obama talk women in tech, Theresa May hopes to hold on to her majority in the U.K. election, and more disturbing reports about Uber surface. Have a fantastic Thursday.


EVERYONE'S TALKING

• Uber bad news. This has been quite a week for Uber news. As you may recall, the company already announced two big female hires—and confirmed that an outside investigation into HR complaints led to the termination of more than 20 people. Now, multiple reports are saying that Eric Alexander, then Uber’s president of business in Asia-Pacific, obtained the medical records of a woman who had been raped during a ride in India—then showed them to other execs, including CEO Travis Kalanick.

The driver in question was arrested and ultimately sentenced to life in prison, and the company has been publicly apologetic. However, Recode‘s sources say Alexander doubted the veracity of the woman’s story and after looking at the records, he—and the other executives who viewed them—suggested that Ola, Uber’s prime competitor in India, was behind the incident.

Alexander’s handling of the situation is among 215 Uber-related claims two law firms are currently investigating. While Uber previously said that Alexander is not among the 20-plus people fired as a result of those investigations, Recode says that, as of yesterday, the company confirmed that he is no longer employed by the ride-hailing startup.

These reports are even more chilling than the ones alleging rampant sexual harassment and discrimination at Uber. They suggest a company that gives barely a moment’s thought to the safety of its customers—and one that is willing to violate the rights and privacy of a rape victim in order to squash a perceived threat to the business. If true, it’s difficult to believe that any number of impressive new female hires will be enough to redeem the company in the eyes of some customers. Recode


ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• Gates to grads. In this Fortune op-ed, Melinda Gates encourages female computer science grads to pursue their dreams in the tech industry—despite the difficulties they may encounter—and to share their stories with younger women who are considering following in their footsteps. Fortune

• May’s fate up in the air. Voting is underway in a U.K. snap election, which was called for in April by Theresa May. The British PM had hoped to grow her parliamentary majority and secure her Conservative vision for Brexit. At the time of the decision, the contest looked like a sure bet. Last-minute polls still put her Conservative party ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, but by a much narrower margin than anticipated. Polls close at 5 pm EST; projections are expected to come shortly afterward.  Bloomberg

• New collar crowd. IBM is expanding its partnerships with community colleges in an effort to train more workers for what CEO Ginni Rometty describes as “new collar jobs”—skilled positions in fast-growing tech fields that don’t necessarily require a traditional four-year degree.  Fortune

• DeVos says it again…and again. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week, where she was repeatedly asked if, under a federal voucher program, she would prohibit private schools from discriminating against LGBTQ students and children with disabilities. DeVos repeatedly failed to clarify her position, repeating a single answer 14 times: “Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law.” NPR

• Tinseltown tales. Six of Hollywood’s most interesting actresses—including Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Moss, and Jessica Lange—talk about their run-ins with sexism in the entertainment industry, both onscreen and off.  The Hollywood Reporter

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee, who has won praise from technology companies for taking steps to minimize abusive patent litigation, has resigned from her position. Twitter has hired Emily Horne, most recently the assistant press secretary for the National Security Council, as its new communications director to handle policy and user safety issues. The New York Times promoted Meredith Kopit Levien, who had been chief revenue officer since 2015, to EVP and COO.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• A space of one’s own. This story looks at the spread of businesses that provide work and hangout spaces specifically or mostly for women (think the Wing, New Womens Space), noting how they are carrying on a tradition that began with the women’s clubs that emerged in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century. Village Voice

• Ready for action. Brooklyn-based design company FCTRY raised more than $50,000 on Kickstarter to create a Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) action figure. The six-inch Warren wears a red and black pantsuit and is priced at $19. Fortune

• All eyes on the U.K. In an unusual turn, several U.S. celebs—including Lena Dunham and Susan Sarandon—are using their social media accounts to stump for candidates in today’s U.K. election. Fortune

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ON MY RADAR

Michelle Obama to Silicon Valley: Make room for women in tech Fortune

Sanya Richards-Ross opens up about abortion before 2008 Summer Olympic Games  SI

Jenna Wortham talks about the tech she uses at work and in her personal life  New York Times

Hillary Clinton will deliver the commencement address at Medgar Evers College today  Time


QUOTE

Can you give me a ‘yes or no’ answer?
California Sen. Kamala Harris, questioning a witness at a high-profile hearing Wednesday. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr attempted to silence the Democrat, but Harris refused to remain quiet.

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