Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Betsy DeVos bails on her own press conference, an Instagram account is outing alleged abusers in the ad industry, and it’s International Women’s Day! Check out our complete rundown below—and enjoy your holiday.
• Happy March 8th! Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what International Women’s Day is all about—we’ve got a basic primer for you right here. This year’s theme (and hashtag) is #PressforProgress, and the purpose of the day is just that—to call for global gender parity.
For a bit of historical context, our colleague Claire Zillman has an insightful look into why purple is the official color of the holiday—and why women have long used the color of their outfits to make a political statement. (You’ll see that strategy in full effect in these photos of IWD marches and gatherings over the years.) Claire also dug into the way the day has evolved into something more commercial, becoming something of a “corporate pile-on of feel-good ads and product rollouts as brands rush to chime in on the pro-woman conversation.” Here’s her analysis of how the #MeToo era has raised the bar for branded IWD promotions.
Val took the opportunity to ask ten powerful women—including designer Diane von Furstenberg, former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen, actress and This Bar Saves Lives co-founder Kristen Bell, and former DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman—to share their best piece of advice for Broadsheet readers. Their responses are worth your time…
We also have an op-ed from another Obama administration vet—Valerie Jarrett—who urges women to celebrate the spirit of the holiday throughout the year by getting involved in the push for equality. “Over the last year, women have risen to the forefront of activism and have demanded more from our government, our employers, and our communities,” writes Jarrett. “We have been advocating for a range of goals, from fair workplaces to equal pay and reproductive health care. We won’t stop until we achieve the treatment we deserve.”
And on a slightly different note: If today’s newsletter seems fueled by more vitamin D than usual, that’s because I’m in sunny San Francisco this week for the Great Places to Work Summit. I’ll be talking to Thrive Global’s Arianna Huffington and SAP’s Jennifer Morgan today and attending the gathering’s International Women’s Day celebration tonight. If you happen to be there, please come by and say hi.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Designing women. A number of fascinating women have taken the stage at Brainstorm Design—a joint Fortune/Time/Wallpaper conference—which is happening in Singapore this week. A quick recap of the highlights thus far: Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, talked about prioritizing creativity over commercial success. Author Alice Rawsthorn urged attendees not to shy away from talking about bad design. And Sarah Stein Greenberg, executive director of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, weighed in on how best to prepare students for an uncertain world.
• Insta accuser. @DietMadisonAve, an anonymous Instagram account, has become the ad world’s version of the Shitty Media Men list that circulated last fall. The account has published names of alleged harassers along with details of what the accusations against them. An operator of the account told the NYT‘s Sapna Maheshwari that it had “shared 17 names of alleged harassers and had collected an additional 158 that it had not yet vetted. The person said the group vetted allegations before making them public, by verifying work histories and obtaining supporting documents like nondisclosure agreements.”
New York Times
• Betsy bails. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced student criticism—and then abruptly walked out of her own press conference—during a visit to Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 died in a mass shooting last month. Her sudden exit came after strong questioning about arming school staff (an idea she has supported), the training involved, and opposition by some students.
• Barbie meets Frida, Amelia and more. Mattel has announced that it’s releasing a series of 17 new Barbie dolls honoring “historical and modern-day role models from around the world.” Among the new injection-molded faces: Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, mathematician Katherine Johnson, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and boxer Nicola Adams.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• If we stop, the world stops. Women in Spain are marking IWD with a massive labor strike. Its mission, according to organizer 8 March Commission, is to call for “a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence.” Women taking part are not working, and have been urged not to spend no money or do domestic chores for the day. About 200 cities in the country are participating.
• Venturing forward. Patricia Nakache, a GP at Trinity Ventures, talks to our colleague Polina Marinova (subscribe to her must-read newsletter, Term Sheet, here!) about the evolution of e-commerce, the pitfalls of fundraising, and SoftBank’s effect on the VC ecosystem.
• Miranda for governor? Cynthia Nixon, who has gained prominence as an activist in recent years (though she’ll always be Miranda, undeniably the best Sex and the City character, to me) is reportedly gearing up to launch a progressive primary challenge to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
• Screening for the big C. 23andMe, the DNA analysis company led by CEO Anne Wojcicki, has received FDA approval to add at-home cancer screenings to its test kits. The test, which analyzes DNA from a self-collected saliva sample, will soon be able to detect increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.