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Total Eclipse, Sheryl Sandberg’s Massive Donation, Women of the Alt-Right

Aug 21, 2017

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here again. Sheryl Sandberg makes a massive donation, the field of economics is more sexist than you'd expect, and AWOK doesn't mean what you think it does. Happy eclipse day!

EVERYONE'S TALKING

 When no one's listening. While much attention has been paid recently to sexism in tech (for good reason), a new study published this month serves as an excellent reminder that workplace cultures that are hostile to women are not exclusive to Silicon Valley.

Alice Wu, who will start her doctoral studies in economics at Harvard next year, mined more than a million posts from an anonymous online message board frequented by economists. The site, econjobrumors.com, began as a place for economists to exchange gossip about who is hiring and being hired in the profession. Over time, it evolved into a virtual water cooler frequented by economics faculty members, graduate students and others.

Wu's analysis of the posts yielded a result that is disturbing to say the least: the 30 words most commonly associated with women (in order) are: hotter, lesbian, bb (short for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.

Again, because I feel this needs repeating: Those are the words most commonly used on the forum in association with women. The list of words associated with men reveals no similarly singular theme. It includes words that are relevant to economics, such as adviser, Austrian (a school of thought in economics), mathematician, pricing, textbook, and Wharton.

There does, however, seem to be a silver lining embedded in the white paper—in the form of the researcher herself. When asked whether her research made her want to reconsider pursuing a career in economics, Wu said that on the contrary, it suggests “that more women should be in this field changing the landscape.” New York Times

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

 Total Eclipse. The Atlantic has reprinted Annie Dillard's classic 1982 essay, "Total Eclipse," which describes the author's personal experience of a solar eclipse in Washington State. Among my favorite lines of this nonfiction masterpiece (and one that makes me wish I was in the path of totality for today's event): "A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane. Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it." The Atlantic

 Sheryl shells it out. According to a document filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sheryl Sandberg has transferred 590,000 shares of Facebook stock—worth nearly $100 million—to a fund she uses for charitable giving. Fortune

 Student turns teacher. Arista Networks CEO Jayshree Ullal, a former long-time Cisco exec who was once close to former chief John Chambers, is cutting into the software giant's networking business and winning over its customers. The two companies are battling it out in court (Cisco has accused Arista of stealing its technology, which the latter denies)—but the feud is also personal. WSJ

Women of the alt-right. While it’s difficult to determine just how many women identify with the alt-right, the lack of a female presence in Charlottesville shouldn’t be read as an absence of women in the white nationalist movement overall. George Hawley, author of Making Sense of the Alt-Right, estimates that 20% of alt-right supporters are female. The Atlantic

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Not ready to forgive. The White House said Thursday that it was “working on identifying a time that’s convenient for [Heather Heyer's] family to speak with the president." Heather's mom, however, says she wants nothing to do with Donald Trump “after what he said about my child.” She's referring to the president's comments last week that "both sides" were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. Bloomberg

Women of sex tech. A tech-savvy and female-led women’s sexuality movement has made its home in New York City. Its members, many of them under 40, are updating sex toys and related products with their own needs in mind and leading the companies—including Dame Products, Unbound, House of Plume, and Sustain—that sell them. New York Times

You're so AWOK. Have you ever seen the four-letter abbreviation AWOK floating around online? It has nothing to do with wokeness (which had been my personal theory for a while), but stands for “Anna Wintour OK"—as in, Vogue's editor-in-chief has given you her blessing. Vogue

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