Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Aston Martin adds some female directors just in time for its IPO, coming back from parental leave can be rough, and New York attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout debuts a fascinating new campaign ad. Have a killer Wednesday.
• Watch mom run. Have you seen the new campaign ad for Zephyr Teachout, a candidate for New York attorney general? You would probably remember if you had. The spot shows the eight-months pregnant candidate lying on an exam table, musing about the future while getting an ultrasound.
The ad is fascinating for a few reasons. To begin with, it illuminates a mini-trend within the larger surge of women running for office: the embrace of motherhood on the campaign trail. After a generation of female politicians who tended to shy away from even talking about their experiences as women, the tide has turned. In addition to Teachout, we’ve seen gubernatorial candidates Krish Vignarajah (Maryland) and Kelda Roys (Wisconsin) breastfeed their babies in ads.
There is, to be sure, an image-making piece of this. Far from feeling that they have to downplay or coverup their identities as moms—and the bodies that make that possible—these candidates are highlighting that aspect of themselves and clearly see it as something that will appeal to voters.
It would be easy to dismiss the Teachout ad as a stunt, but the kind of multitasking on display—campaigning while ultrasound-ing—is not far off from the reality some women this election cycle face. Recall, for instance, that The Broadsheet recently covered the change in FEC rules that allows candidates to use campaign funds to cover some aspects of childcare.
Ads with mothering on full display, yes, can warm the hearts of potential voters, but the spots by Vignarajah, Roys, and Teachout also give an over-due nod to the reality of parenthood; the time mothers spend time on essential tasks like breastfeeding and OBGYN visits. (I’d wager there’s not a working mom reading this who hasn’t multitasked her way through a few emails or some other work duty.) Why follow old rules that say women can care for babies, and women can work, but never the two shall meet? We all know that old concept of work-life balance got the boot decades ago.
They say all personal is political. I think we can now assume the reverse as well.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Retail selloff. Hudson’s Bay Company, led by CEO Helena Foulkes, is continuing its turnaround strategy. The company behind Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and namesake Hudson’s Bay sold parts of its European business to the Austrian retail giant Signa Retail Holdings. The two retailers will jointly manage Hudson’s Bay’s German real estate assets in a deal netting Hudson’s Bay €411 million, or about $476 million. Hudson’s Bay sold off Gilt to Rue La La in June and is closing Lord & Taylor locations.
Wall Street Journal
• Climate crusaders. Women are the ones fighting the battle against climate change, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane argue in an op-ed for Fortune. Women are more likely to take a long-term view and are more willing to engage with problems that affect society as well as business, they write.
• Getting in gear. Just before going public on the London Stock Exchange, Aston Martin has avoided public—and governmental—scrutiny of its all-male board. The 105-year-old luxury car manufacturer announced the addition of three women to its board alongside its IPO prospectus. Former Coca-Cola executive Penny Hughes is the company’s new non-executive chair of the board, and NYU professor Tensie Whelan and Imelda Walsh are new independent directors. Walsh is a longtime board member at U.K. companies who, interestingly, led a government review of flexible working arrangements for parents with older children in 2008. The U.K. has set benchmarks for all companies to have women make up a third of their boards by 2020.
• Risk and return. We hear a lot about paid family leave policies—and the United States’ lack of them—but not as much about what it’s like for women who do have access to and take maternity leave. Dublin City University professors interviewed women during and after their maternity leave and learned that many found the experience harder than expected. Upon their return to the office, many women found that some of their professional relationships had deteriorated, their careers were derailed, and that colleagues held their time off against them.
Harvard Business Review
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Julie Urhman, known for her work developing the video game console Ouya, will create new products as president of media at Playboy. Dana Wollman has been promoted to editor-in-chief of Engadget.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Accessible IVF. CNY Fertility Center, a fertility clinic with five locations, has been able to bring down the cost of IVF to $3,900 per cycle and $8,000 in total per each try (compared to the usual $20,000). That price difference has made a major impact on who can undertake the procedure. Fertility patients at CNY report household incomes of $85,000 versus $182,000 for fertility patients nationally.
Wall Street Journal
• Basic income with a twist. A universal basic income pilot in Mississippi is focusing its entire program on black mothers. Fifteen black single mothers in Jackson, Mississippi will receive $1,000 a month through Magnolia Mother’s Trust. It’s a new approach to basic income pilots, which usually don’t target specific groups and definitely haven’t followed black mothers exclusively.
• It ain’t just a river in Egypt. President Donald Trump’s advice for men accused of sexual misconduct, according to Bob Woodward’s new book: “Deny, deny, deny.” In Fear, Woodward reports that Trump advised a friend to deny all accusations and “push back on these women.” “You’ve got to be strong,” Trump reportedly told his unnamed friend. “You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.”
• Seen but not heard? Latina speaking roles across television and streaming hit an all-time high of 7%, up from 5% last year. Speaking roles for black and Asian actresses remained steady while the share of speaking roles going to women overall declined to 40%. These numbers are from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University and don’t even get into the film industry.