Good morning, Broadsheet readers! LuLaRoe’s founders are in trouble, miscarriage is a taboo topic in the workplace, and women over 60 are having a moment. Have a terrific Thursday.
• Better with age. Let’s start the morning with a heartening trend, as identified by the New York Times’s Jessica Bennett: Women over 60 are having a powerful moment.
The story points to examples like Nancy Pelosi (78), Maxine Waters (80), Susan Zirinsky (66), and Glenn Close (71), all of whom landed big jobs (speaker of the House, chair of the Financial Services Committee, head of CBS News) or major awards (Golden Globe for best actress in a drama) in the early days of the new year.
Unlike men, whose power tends to grow into their seventh decade and beyond, older women have historically been, as the Times puts it, “invisible or shunted aside.”
Why the shift? The NYT cites a number of possible factors, including an overall population that is aging—yet working and remaining healthy longer than ever before, the #MeToo reckoning that’s opened the door to new ideas about what power should look like, and a cohort of women who started their careers during the women’s movement of the ’70s and ’80s and who are just now arriving at the height of their power.
Not every woman is on the path to speaker or a Globe acceptance speech, of course, but this trend—if it continues and spreads—could benefit all kinds of professional women. Consider working moms. According to 2013 data from Pew Research, 39% of mothers say they’ve had to take a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member (another 42% said they had to reduce their hours). Such breaks or “downshifts” tend to flatten the trajectory of women’s careers and dent their earning potential. But if companies begin to fill more of their leadership roles with older, experienced women, that opens new runway—more opportunities to reach professional goals and to take home top salaries.
The double whammy of sexism and ageism has been a career-ender for too long. Let’s make 2019 the year we end it.
New York Times
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• An inspired move? LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel is planning to launch a $200 million venture fund. The fund, which still seems to be raising money, is called Inspired Capital Partners.
• A Prime settlement. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced yesterday that he and his wife of 25 years, novelist MacKenzie Bezos, are getting divorced. That means MacKenzie Bezos could soon become the world’s richest woman. With half of their net worth in the community property state of Washington, she would end up with about $66 billion—by far more than the current richest woman, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who has a net worth of $45 billion inherited from her grandfather, the founder of L’Oréal.
• Penney pinching. Things aren’t looking good over at J.C. Penney, where Jill Soltau took over as CEO in October. The retailer this week reported dismal holiday season sales and announced plans to pursue more store closings.
• Act 2… John Lasseter, the former head of Pixar who was forced to leave the animation studio a year ago over allegations that he harassed and inappropriately touched women who worked for him, has a new job. He will be head of Skydance Animation—a hire that the company said it has not “entered into lightly” after hiring outside counsel to examine the allegations against Lasseter and after Lasseter “apologized for his actions.” Time’s Up said in response to the news that the hire “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Karen Mullane, formerly of SoulCycle and Etsy, joined SeatGeek as global VP, controller. Melisa Goldie, previously of Calvin Klein, will be CMO at Yeti. Netflix hires Sheroum Kim as director of independent films.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• LuLa-uh oh. LuLaRoe is known for its leggings empire and its sketchy practices selling through “independent fashion consultants.” Now founders DeAnne and Mark Stidham are accused of hiding tens of millions in shell companies to avoid creditors.
• Stop the silence. The secrecy around miscarriage is especially strong in the workplace, a CNN story highlights. Women stay silent—one woman in the piece even miscarried in the office without telling a soul—for their own privacy, but also out of fear that they may be discriminated against when their bosses discover they may soon become mothers. Meanwhile, Time has an excerpt of the book Thick, in which author Tressie McMillan Cottom writes that the medical establishment saw her as an “incompetent black woman” when she sought help during a troubled pregnancy.
• Criminal cases. The NYPD closed its investigation into sexual assault allegations against Mario Batali. In two cases, the allegations were beyond the statute of limitations, and in the third, detectives couldn’t find enough evidence to make an arrest. Meanwhile, a judge dismissed Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein; her defamation suit can proceed.
New York Times
• Refugees welcome. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, the 18-year-old Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a Bangkok hotel room for fear of being deported back to a family she said would kill her, was granted refugee status by the UN refugee agency. She may soon be able to go to Australia, her original destination when she fled.
New York Times