Good morning, Broadsheet readers! More powerful men are out of a job due to harassment accusations, Ikea is in hot water over a Chinese TV ad, and Planned Parenthood wants you to talk to your employer about birth control. Happy Halloweekend!
• Tell your employers, tell your friends. It’s benefits season—the time of year when those of us with corporate jobs sign up for insurance coverage through our employers. That, coupled with the Trump administration’s recent moves to roll back an Obama-era requirement that employers provide FDA-approved contraception at no cost, means this is the perfect time to remind employers of the benefits you need.
Planned Parenthood is kicking off Fight for Birth Control, a national public awareness campaign to encourage women to do just that. Here’s how to take part:
1. Employee engagement
The primary focus of the campaign is to educate the public and provide people with the tools and resources they need to have a conversation with their employers. The website FightForBirthControl.org contains an “employee toolkit” filled with information about current U.S. health care policies, as well as tips for women on how to ensure that they will keep their birth control coverage regardless of the status of the mandate.
2. Employer engagement
As part of the campaign, Planned Parenthood is launching #BusinessForBC, urging employers to publicly commit to providing their employees with coverage. The non-profit says it has “commitments from corporations across sectors including health, finance, tech, fashion, and entertainment” that they will continue to pay for employees’ contraception. While the organization declines to name the employers that it is working with, PP president Cecile Richards tells me Kodak is a prime example of how companies can take a stand and provide an example for their peers.
3. Political accountability
The final piece of the puzzle is holding politicians’ feet to the fire. Through the Fight For Birth Control website, women can share their stories about why they need birth control directly with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The site also has names and photos of legislators who have taken public stances that are at odds with women’s health.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Today in harassment. The latest powerful men to be accused of sexual harassment are…
- James Toback: Actresses Rachel McAdams, Selma Blair and Julianne Moore are among the most recent actresses to join the 310 (!) women who have accused the film director of harassment. Toback denied the allegations to the Los Angeles Times and claimed that for the last 22 years it had been “biologically impossible” for him to do what he was accused of.
- Mark Halperin: ABC News’ former political director at ABC News and (until yesterday) MSNBC analyst has been accused by seven women (so far) of making unwanted sexual advances toward them. “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain,” he told the New York Times through a rep.
- Knight Landesman: The publisher of Artforum magazine and a “power broker” in the art world resigned Wednesday after nine women (so far) said in a lawsuit that he had sexually harassed them for almost a decade. The magazine’s other publishers “engaged in unacceptable behavior and caused a hostile work environment.”
- Steve Jurvetson: The partner at venture capital firm firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) is under investigation by an external law firm for allegations of sexual harassment, reports tech blog The Information. It’s worth noting that while one woman said “predatory behavior is rampant” at the firm, other long-time former employees have come to Jurvetson’s defense.
• I’m OK with robots taking over. Social Capital launched a new data-focused investment platform for early-stage investing called “capital-as-a-service” this past Wednesday. Put simply, the VC firm will invest in startups without having to go through the process of a traditional pitch. What happens when you take humans out of the process? Of the several dozen CEOs the VC firm committed to fund after analyzing 3,000, 42% were women (female founders received 2.19% of venture capital funding in 2016.)
• Not the weaker sex. Researchers at the University of St. Gallen analyzed more than 8,200 games from Grand Slam tennis matches. They found that the gap in performance in high-stakes vs. low stakes games was much greater for men than it was for women (meaning men were more likely to “choke”). The same researchers also looked at bronze medal judo fights from 2009 to 2013 and found that men who had won their previous matches were more likely to win the subsequent ones than men who had just lost; women’s prior-fight record had no effect on their probability of victory. Their conclusion: Women respond better than men to competitive pressure.
Harvard Business Review
• Building a sexist culture. Ikea is in hot water over a sexist Chinese TV ad. The 30-second spot features a couple and their grown daughter sitting down for a meal. The mother scolds the daughter: “If you don’t bring home a boyfriend next time, then don’t call me Mom!” Chinese women are particularly sensitive to the intense societal pressure to get married by a certain age; those who are not wed by age 27 are branded as “leftover women” and are considered to have longer odds of finding a spouse.
• Bloom goes her reputation. Lisa Bloom, daughter of feminist lawyer Gloria Allred and self-styled women’s rights champion, is trying to save her reputation after taking on Harvey Weinstein as a client (she dropped him two weeks ago). Bloom reportedly told Ronan Farrow, who first brought the rape allegations against Weinstein to light in the New Yorker: “I don’t know if you’ve talked to Rose McGowan [an alleged rape victim], but we have files on her and her… history.” The New York Times reported that she suggested releasing “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct” as retaliation for the accusations. McGowan wrote in a Facebook post about Bloom: “You are a snake that sold out other women.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Human weapons. This haunting feature on girls kidnapped by Boko Haram explains why people in the region are learning to be afraid of young women. The Nigerian Islamist terrorist group gives captives as young as 11 the choice between marriage (a euphemism for rape) and going to heaven (becoming suicide bombers). In the past six years, women have accounted for the majority of suicide bombings by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Many of the courageous girls in this story made a different—though still very risky decision—after being fitted with a bomb: go to the authorities, or even nearby strangers, for help.
New York Times
• The end of Terry? Famed fashion photographer Terry Richardson has been barred from working with magazines owned by Condé Nast International. The company publishes international editions of Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Wired. Shortly thereafter, fashion brands Valentino and Bulgari announced they, too, would like to no longer work with the photographer. Richarson has been dogged for years—at least since 2010—by allegations of sexual exploitation of fashion models, something he has always denied.
• The epitome of cool. This New York Times piece explains how, despite being “one of the most relentlessly quiet famous people on the planet,” singer Sade’s “place in the pantheon of cultural influence has only grown more enormous.”
New York Times
• Heck yes you can be both. Julia Knapp, the lone girl on her high school football team in Troutman, North Carolina, united two high school tropes when she was crowned both Homecoming Queen and Offensive Player of the Game last week. This is her first year playing football; she was recruited by team members who noticed her prowess in corner kicks for the school’s soccer team.
ON MY RADAR
Steinem, Sandberg and Judd on how to end sexual harassment
New York Times
Woman assaulted by celebrity just needs to sit tight for 40 years until dozens more women corroborate story
Park Service denies permit for a 45-foot statue of a naked woman on the Mall
10 up-and-coming female artists to watch