Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Betsy DeVos flunks her 60 Minutes interview, VCs are publicizing their sexual harassment policies, and I round up the best snippets from SXSW. Have a lovely Tuesday.
• Seen at SXSW. As anyone who’s attended the SXSW Conference knows, capturing everything that’s going on at the massive Austin tech confab is impossible. But while I can’t give you the full Texas two-step, I have attempted to parse the most interesting, Broadsheet-y moments that I either saw live or heard about through the grapevine over the past couple of days:
Gates Foundation co-founder Melinda Gates on the problems with workplace culture:
“It took a while to realize that me emulating the people around me to be in their mold [wasn’t working]. Maybe I wasn’t the problem. Maybe the mold was the problem. Young people, especially women and people of color, enter the workforce and are so eager to have their ideas take hold but then bump up against barriers and bias and that makes them question whether they belong.”
Uber chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John, on tech’s diversity problem:
“I want white men to look around in their office and say, ‘Oh look, there’s a lot of white men here. Let’s change this…Why do I—as the black woman—have to fix that? There’s 50 of you, there’s one of me. Ya’ll fix it. Everybody else needs to make the noise—I want white men to make the noise.”
Audrey Gelman, founder of The Wing, a women’s-only co-working space:
All of a sudden, it’s really cool to be a woman entrepreneur, but what people don’t realize is how brutal it can be. What a lot of magazines don’t tell you is how scared you are 99-100% of the time—not enough attention paid to the less glamorous part of the job. You don’t hear about dealing with things like HVAC, zoning, permits when you’re talking about ‘girlbosses.'”
London mayor Sadiq Khan, calling on tech companies to do more to fight online bullying and hate speech:
“What happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines, or experience it themselves? Or someone thinking about becoming a politician? And what about young girls and women who are being driven from these platforms, reversing our long fight for gender equality?”
The Chi creator Lena Waithe, on the importance of diversity in storytelling:
“If we don’t hold each other up, who will? If we don’t tell our stories, someone else will—and they’ll tell them wrong.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• A DeVos disaster. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s 60 Minutes interview, which aired Sunday night, has been widely recognized as a PR nightmare. DeVos couldn’t answer very basic questions, like how schools in her home state of Michigan are faring—and admitted that she “hadn’t intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” She was also named as the head of a new commission on school safety Monday, but gave a non-answer when asked her stance on arming teachers.
• Daniels offers a deal. Stormy Daniels, the porn star who allegedly had an affair with President Donald Trump, has offered to return the $130,000 she received from the president’s personal lawyer in 2016 in exchange for keeping quiet. The idea is that Trump would get a refund—and she would be allowed to speak freely about what happened between the two of them.
• The tipping equation. Another excellent NYT interactive, this time about the sexual harassment experienced by waitstaff in the restaurant industry: “In interviews, more than 60 servers and bartenders—nervous teenagers and seasoned veterans, students and single mothers, a few men but mostly women—shared stories of crude comments, propositions, groping and even stalking from customers. They work in diners, chain restaurants and high-end dining establishments, and they reported hourly take home pay ranging from $8 to more than $40.”
New York Times
• A rider wrinkle. Yesterday, a Twitter user asked A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay, whether inclusion riders—the contractual clauses that call for certain hiring targets that Frances McDormand highlighted at the Oscars—were behind the diverse group of people who worked on the movie. DuVernay, who’s been sharing Instagram photos of the film’s premieres, responded: “Nope.” Instead, she said, she had simply hired “great people of all kinds and colors.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• A long overdue update. House and Senate lawmakers are reportedly close to a deal that would significantly rewrite Washington’s workplace discrimination rules. Among the updates: Doubling the amount of time congressional employees would be given to file a harassment claim from 45 to 90 days, making politicians found liable for harassment pay the cost of settlements out of pocket (instead of relying on taxpayer money), and eliminating mandatory counseling and mediation before victims can file a workplace misconduct claim.
• VCs step up. A group of venture capital firms has publicized their sexual harassment policies as part of a new initiative called MovingForward. Here’s what the policies at the firms—which include Andreessen Horowitz, First Round, Kapor, and DFJ—look like.
• Graphs on the gap. Bloomberg has created a neat visualization tool to make it easy to see what the gender pay gap looks like across the pond (U.K. companies with more than 250 employees are now required to reveal what they pay across gender). The big takeaway? Women are unrepresented in many high growth industries and make up fewer than 30% of top pay grades across seven different sectors.
• Can she really do more? When it comes to Serena Williams, the answer is always yes. The tennis champion and new mom is reportedly launching a beauty brand, having filed documents to trademark Aneres (her first name spelled backwards). The gossip blog TMZ reports: “Serena’s cosmetics vision includes skin care prep and makeup removing products, colognes and perfumes. There are also makeup kits, bath soaps, lipstick, lip gloss, eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara.”