Mika Brzezinski's big book deal

By Kristen Bellstrom
July 12, 2017
July 12, 2017

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hillary Clinton and emails are back in the headlines, Mika Brzezinski inks a new publishing deal, and a Spanish airline is forced to stop requiring flight attendant candidates to take a pregnancy test. Have a great Wednesday.


EVERYONE'S TALKING

• Plane crazy. Unbelievably, Spanish airline Iberia just this week agreed to stop requiring female job candidates to take a pregnancy test before they can be hired, after it was fined for discrimination. The airline has defended the practice as a safety precaution (a stretch: expectant mothers are typically advised to avoid flying in their final trimester), but—not surprisingly—government and union officials have slammed it as sexist.

While Iberia’s ex-policy is indefensible, this is far from the first time an airline has been called on the carpet over sexist treatment of female employees. Just a few examples: Two female flight attendants at Russian carrier Aeroflot sued for age and sex discrimination after the airline began enforcing weight guidelines last year. In 2015, Qatar Airways was accused of banning female flight attendants from marrying for five years after being hired (the company has denied that it holds such a policy). And here in the U.S., two flight attendants brought suit against Frontier Airlines this May, asserting that they were discriminated against when they were not allowed to pump breast milk while on duty.

Female flight attendants’ fight to be treated like the professionals they are goes back to the dawn of commercial air travel (for some historical context, I recommend this Ms. Magazine piece on “the birth of the stewardess”). While that war is clearly far from over, this Iberia policy change represents another important skirmish won.


ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• But their emails. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya gave her account of her meeting with Donald Trump Jr., reports of which have reignited suspicion of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. She denied any connection to the Kremlin and insisted that she never had any dirt on Trump opponent Hillary Clinton. Yet when Trump Jr. later tweeted the email exchange that led to the sit-down, it revealed that Veselnitskaya was introduced as a “Russian government attorney” and that information she supposedly had “would incriminate Hillary…but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

• It gets worse. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Dick Costolo, former Twitter CEO and now chief of fitness startup Chorus, said that the reality of the gender dynamics in the tech industry is “probably way worse than we’ve seen so far.” Investors, he said, have perpetuated the problem: “The investors in some of these venture firms are simply ignoring it, or paying lip service to it and ignoring it, and funding some of these enterprises anyway.”  Bloomberg

• Knowing your value is on the rise. Sometimes being insulted by the president pays off: Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski has landed a three-book deal with Weinstein Books, which published her 2011 title Knowing Your Value. The contract is reportedly valued “in the high six figures.”   New York Post

• The trolls are winning. New data from the Pew Research Center shows that 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, up from 35% in 2014. Nearly half of respondents said that witnessing or experiencing online harassment has prompted them to change their behavior, including, in some cases, leaving an online service. Fortune

• Another out at Uber. AG Gangadhar, the head of the Uber engineering department where Susan Fowler worked, has left the company. The ride-hailing startup says that his departure is unrelated to Fowler’s claims, though, as director of the infrastructure engineering group, Gangadhar was among the managers Fowler referenced in her explosive blog post. Recode

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: McKesson Corporation has appointed Robin Jacobsohn as head of Litigation. She was most recently general counsel at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• #Goals. Candice Morgan, head of Inclusion & Diversity at Pinterest, writes about what the company has learned since taking the bold step of publicly sharing its diversity hiring goals back in 2015. One important conclusion: Just announcing those goals isn’t enough. Powerful people at the company must continually make a case for why hitting those numbers is so important. Harvard Business Review

• Loans to lawsuits. Niesha Wright, a 40-year-old mother of two, has filed suit against Betsy DeVos over the education secretary’s recent suspension of protections for students who borrow money to attend for-profit colleges. Wright owes more than $25,000 in student loans she accrued while she pursued an associate’s degree from ITT Tech—which shut down two months after she graduated. Time

• The fault in the stars. A new study of astronomers finds that 28% of the women of color who responded reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and that about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. WOC were also more likely than men to experience verbal harassment related to their race. BuzzFeed

• Doing double-duty. Today in headlines that made me do a double-take: “Salma Hayek launches line of smoothies that double as face masks.” The actress’s new line is called Blend It Yourself and…well, you get the idea. The Hollywood Reporter

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ON MY RADAR

An L Word sequel is officially in the works  BuzzFeed

Foes of Obama-era rule work to undo birth control mandate  New York Times

Hiring women to work at my tech company taught me a hard truth about fixing the wage gap  Quartz

The Wall Street Journal admits it has a gender problem, pledges to fix it  Huffington Post


QUOTE

If empowering women is more than just rhetoric for the president, he will prove it by funding family planning.
Melinda Gates, speaking at a global family planning summit in London.

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