Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Serena Williams rakes in the money, there’s a new sexism index we wish we didn’t need, and Goldman Sachs jumps on a workplace trend. It’s Thursday; have at it!
• Overseas shipping. News broke earlier this week that Goldman Sachs will start covering the cost of shipping the breast milk of nursing employees who need to travel for work. In the U.S., the bank will deliver freezing kits to women’s hotel rooms and then courier breast milk back to her baby for feeding, according to an internal memo first reported by London’s Evening Standard. In the U.K., the bank will reimburse breastfeeding employees for the cost of shipping milk during work trips.
Goldman touted the benefit as a way to make the act of balancing parenting and work “a little easier.”
In offering this perk, the investment bank jumps on what is now a years-long trend. EY started shipping employees’ breast milk way back in 2007. IBM launched a similar program in July 2015. Accenture and Twitter followed suit that same year; law firm Latham & Watkins added a similar policy in 2016.
At the time Latham introduced its program, a lawyer at the firm told me it was “an easy way” to solve the logistical nightmare of pumping on the road. And, of course, such initiatives align nicely with corporations’ gender diversity initiatives.
So Goldman’s program is admirable but by no means ground-breaking among U.S. firms.
But an aspect of the news was noteworthy. The Evening Standard reports that Goldman is thought to be the first company to offer breast milk shipping in the U.K., which prompts the question: Why has the benefit not caught on there?
Consider this: U.K. law allows for maternity leave of up to 52 weeks, with eligible employees receiving pay for 39 of them, meaning new moms in the U.K. might be returning to work after they’re done nursing.
To be fair, some of the companies offering breast milk shipping in the U.S. also provide generous maternity leave, but the nation—as you well know—lacks federally mandated paid maternity leave, so new moms are often returning to work soon after giving birth. The breast milk shipping benefit, therefore, has gained traction in a country where moms, generally speaking, are uniquely positioned to need it.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Parsing the pink wave. More women than ever are running for office this year. How do Americans feel about it? New research from Pew finds that 61% say it’s a good thing that there are more women candidates, but they’re not entirely sure what the trend will mean. Pew found no consensus on whether more women in Congress would lead to more effectiveness, transparency or civility.
• Franklin’s fortune. When Aretha Franklin died last Thursday, she had no will or trust in place. (Her lawyer says he repeatedly asked the singer to get a trust in order, but she never did.) That means her finances will become public. The singer, who passed away at age 76, is thought to have a net worth of $60 million.
• Top prize. Forbes is out with its 2018 list of highest-earning female athletes. Topping the list is Serena Williams, despite winning just $62,000 in prize money between June 2017 and June 2018. Instead, the tennis star earned $18.1 million thanks in large part to her many sponsorships. In fact, she made twice as much off the court as any other female athlete.
• The state of sexism. Economists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the National University of Singapore developed an index of sexist attitudes, applied it the U.S., and ranked states accordingly. The most sexist state in the union? Arkansas. The least? New Hampshire.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Mother of all decisions. The economic crisis in Venezuela is presenting expectant mothers with an especially harsh ultimatum: either leave the country to give birth or endure Venezuela’s shortage of prenatal care, medicine, and diapers. Many pregnant women are choosing the first option, fleeing to Colombia or Brazil to give birth. “My baby would have died if I had stayed. There was no food or medicine, no doctors,” says Maria Teresa Lopez. The 20-year-old hitchhiked 800 kilometers to the Brazilian border, where her daughter Fabiola was born on Monday.
• On call. The U.K. is enduring a nurse shortage in its NHS system. One angle to alleviating the problem? Convincing men that nursing is not just women’s work.
• Cracking the code. Smithsonian magazine has a fascinating feature on an under-reported aspect of Venona, the top-secret U.S. effort to break encrypted Soviet spy communications. When the project was declassified in 1995, its public face was male. But in truth, most of the people working in the cryptanalytic unit were women.