Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Bill and Melinda Gates are #CoupleGoals, Chloe Kim is a—very hungry—American hero, and Louise Linton is super-duper sorry about that time she lashed out at an Instagrammer. Have a lovely Val(entine’s) Day.
• The Gateses are #Goals. Yesterday, Bill and Melinda Gates published their annual letter, which details the progress they’re making through their eponymous philanthropy. This year, the pair decided to frame the letter in terms of the 10 toughest questions they’re regularly asked. The queries address everything from motivation (“Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?”) to impact (“What do you have to show for the billions you’ve spent on U.S. education?”). However, because today is Valentine’s Day—which, for obvious reasons, is my favorite holiday—I thought I’d focus on no. 9: “What happens when the two of you disagree?”
In the letter, Melinda points out that this is a question she gets far more than her husband does: “Sometimes it’s from journalists hinting that Bill must be the one making the decisions. Other times, it’s from women philanthropists asking advice about how to work more effectively with their husbands.” While she doesn’t outwardly say that she is the one making the decisions, watching her and Bill onstage at Hunter College in New York City yesterday, I got the sense that she’s very much directing the conversation. “Talk about that!” she told her husband at one point during the discussion.
In terms of disagreements, she says they happen all the time. However, they manage to resolve most issues because neither she nor Bill is afraid to challenge each other—and they always present a united front to the outside world. (Bill: “I agree with all of that!”) Of course, working and raising a family together does present its own “intense” set of challenges, and after 25 years of marriage, they’ve learned to find a balance. “On date nights, there’s no talking about the kids or about [our] Foundation.” (This Valentine’s Day, they’re planning to watch the musical Hamilton together.)
While she and Bill seem to have a pretty idyllic working relationship, Melinda acknowledged how much of a privilege that is—particularly for women. However, she is staying optimistic about the #MeToo movement: “We’re finally in a phase where there’s transparency,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to having a “twenty-first-century workforce that works for women.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Chloe’s gold. American snowboarder Chloe Kim won her first Olympic gold medal on Monday. ESPN‘s Alyssa Roenigk has an excellent recap: “It all happened so effortlessly, so absolutely on-script—and while she was tweeting about ice cream and sandwiches—that it was easy to overlook the fact a 17-year-old kid with the pressure of two nations and all she heaps upon herself was able to shut out the noise, focus inwardly and land the two highest-scoring runs of the women’s Olympic halfpipe final.” Besides her jaw-dropping performance, fans are taking note of her obsession with food and her adorably proud dad, Jong Jin Kim, who held a handmade “Go Chloe!” sign at the Olympics. Following her win, Jong Jin pointed to himself and said, “American Dream.”
• Super-duper sorry. Remember Louise Linton? A brief refresher: She’s the wife of treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, and made headlines last fall for an Instagram post in which she touted her designer clothes while leaving a government plane—and subsequently bashing a commenter who criticized her for showing off her wealth. In this somewhat bizarre interview, Linton says she’s “super-duper sorry” for lashing out, and explains what drove her to do it (“When someone says something mean to you on social media, regular people are allowed to respond.”) What resonated with me most, however, was the following explanation, courtesy of Linton’s best friend: “Louise was blessed and fortunate enough to be raised in a Scottish castle, and to not understand the reality of some human beings with a different background.”
• AGs in agreement. On Monday, every single state attorney general—a majority of whom are Republican—signed a letter to congressional leaders demanding that Congress end the practice of forcing sexual harassment cases into mandatory arbitration. “Ending mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims would help to put a stop to the culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims,” the letter says.
• Not playing nice with Vice. A former female employee of Vice Media filed a lawsuit against the company yesterday, alleging that Vice “discriminates against female employees, systemically and intentionally paying them less than their male counterparts.” According to the suit, plaintiff Elizabeth Rose learned that a male subordinate—whom she hired—made about $25,000 more per year than her.
Los Angeles Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Life360 has added Brit Morin to the company’s board and hired Ariana Hellebuyck as the company’s first VP of Brand Marketing. AppNexus has appointed Antoinette Hamilton to VP of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Experience.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Benefits of blockchain. Becky Allen, a research associate with the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the blockchain will drive the next frontier of women’s economic empowerment in three major ways: 1) “Blockchain’s ability to store personal records in a safe and cost-efficient way can provide women with digital IDs.” 2) “Storing contracts in a blockchain would help women protect their property ownership.” and 3) “Blockchain provides a secure way to complete financial transactions, which could bring financial services to the 42% of women worldwide who are still without bank accounts.”
• Tamimi’s trial begins. The trial of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, which began yesterday, is dominating headlines in much of the world. Tamimi, who is 17, has been charged with assault (a video of her slapping, kicking and punching Israeli soldiers has gone viral). Meanwhile, her defense says Israel “wants to deter Ahed and other young people from resisting occupation nonviolently.”
• #TheyToo. In speaking to our sister magazine Time, some sex workers say they feel left out of the #MeToo movement. In the words of one woman, who has recently worked as a prostitute and webcam model: “They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times.” Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it.
• Oh, Omarosa. Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, who was reportedly let go from her post earlier this year, is back on the reality TV circuit and continuing to dominate the headlines. On CBS’ Celebrity Big Brother, she lashed out at VP Mike Pence: “Can I just say this? As bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence,” she said on the episode that aired on Monday. Unrelatedly, Politico reports that the reason behind her firing was that she used the White House car service as an office pick-up and drop-off service, something strictly forbidden by the federal government.
ON MY RADAR
Sex, pong, and pioneers: what Atari was really like, according to women who were there
Presidents Club hostesses ‘should disregard NDAs’
Google’s diversity policy alarms defenders of free speech
Why isn’t NBC talking about the sexual harassment allegations against Shaun White?