Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Kelly Craft is the latest name in contention for the UN job, Google finally kills forced arbitration, and a pair of professors drop science on workplace inquality. Have a fabulous Friday.
• The Big Question. The latest issue of the New York Times Magazine tackles a question that’s at the heart of what we do at The Broadsheet: “Why aren’t women advancing more in corporate America?”
The answer, as you already know, is: It’s complicated. But while the piece, a Q+A with Katherine W. Phillips, a professor of organizational management at Columbia University, and Shelley Correll, a sociologist at Stanford, doesn’t provide a neat and tidy diagnosis, is does do an excellent job laying out the various barriers that slow women down—and provides the kinds of gut-punch examples that drive home just how much damage they do.
I heartily recommend reading their entire conversation, which covers everything from the infamous “double bind,” to the ways in which stereotypes of femininity are applied differently depending on race, to the additional discrimination faced by moms. But I do want to highlight one aspect of the discussion that jumped out at me—the role men play in workplace gender dynamics.
Here’s Phillips on something we don’t often spend a lot of time discussing—why it is that some men (and other historically powerful groups) instinctively resist the push for diversity:
“Some folks see change coming, and they say: ‘Wait a minute, where do you think you’re going? What does it mean for me?’ When people earn something, or believe they earned something, taking it away from them is very painful. I’ve said to groups of white men, when I work within companies, I understand the situation that you’re in. If I was in an organization that has been designed and shaped for me and people like me to be successful, I’d also be asking, ‘What do you mean you want to change this?’ The question is how do you acknowledge for those men that their perspective is understandable, but at the same time show that it’s not O.K.”
While I think we can all agree with her final point—such an attitude is, in fact, very much not O.K.—taking a moment to understand where that resistance stems from seems valuable. In reality, the best way for us to make change is to do it together, and acknowledging the fear and insecurity that makes some people push back against creating a more equal workplace feels like a first step to getting everyone on board. Might the next steps be more forceful? Sure. But empathy is always a good place to start.
In a similar vein, Phillips also encourages women to seek male sponsors at work: “You have to make those connections and build those relationships, as hard as it might be. As many of the messages that we’re getting these days, that men are essentially afraid to do this, there are men out there who are ready and able to be your champion.”
This message seems especially important at a time when we’re hearing reports of men who claim to be so spooked by #MeToo that they’re avoiding mentoring or otherwise supporting women. I’m sure those guys are out there, but so are the ones Phillips is talking about. Let’s make sure we seek them out and encourage them to play their part in helping us reach true corporate equality.
New York Times
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• A Craft-y choice. A new name in the mix to replace Nikki Haley at the UN: Kelly Craft, currently the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has recommended Craft for the job; you might remember her from Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Montreal.
• Don’t be evil. Google is the latest big tech company to announce that it’s eliminating forced arbitration for employees. (As we’ve written about before, such clauses stop employees from suing the company or participating in class action lawsuits against it, and can have the effect of covering up sexual harassment or other toxic workplace issues.) The new policy, which goes into effect on March 21, will apply to all current and future employees around the world.
• Living legends. Who comes to mind when you think of Hollywood legends? Elle reminds us that there are plenty of women with decades-long careers behind them who fit the bill. The magazine’s “Legends Issue” includes interviews with actresses from ages 56 to 87, such as Michelle Yeoh, Debbie Allen, Judith Light, and more.
• What’s up at Under Armour? Remember how Under Armour was struggling with company-sponsored strip club visits? CEO Kevin Plank turned to an unusual advisor: MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. The arrangement is raising eyebrows considering Ruhle’s employment as a journalist and a suspicion that the pair were romantically involved.
Wall Street Journal
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Janet Vergis was nominated to the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb by activist investor Starboard Value. The Tent Partnership for Refugees, which mobilizes the private sector to support refugees, revealed its advisory council, which includes Ambassador Samantha Power; New York Stock Exchange executive vice chairman Betty Liu; Boston Consulting Group senior partner and managing director Wendy Woods; IPSOS deputy CEO Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; Sodexo Nordics president Azita Shariati; and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi chair Beatrice Trussardi. Brex hired Cloudflare’s Elenitsa Staykova as head of marketing. Holly Shapiro was named creative director of Splendid, replacing founder Pamella Protzel-Scott. Shelby Shaftel was promoted to SVP for alternative programming and development at NBC.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The end days. If you thought the full Theranos story had been told, just wait. Vanity Fair has a “chilling” look at Elizabeth Holmes’s final months at the once-renowned blood testing startup. It involves a lot of denial, a not-potty-trained dog, and employees with barely any enthusiasm left to react to an announcement of $100 million raised to save the company. We also learn what Holmes is up to now—living in San Francisco, where she’s swapped the black turtleneck for athleisure.
• Politics down under. Australia’s conservative government has “a problem with women,” according to commentators and evidenced by an ongoing exodus of conservative women from the government. Julie Bishop—a longtime deputy leader of the center-right Liberal Party, whose party passed her over in favor of Malcolm Turnbull—quit politics, the latest example of the trend.
New York Times
• DOJ on J&J. Johnson & Johnson is facing serious consequences—SEC and Justice Department investigations—over reported asbestos contamination of its baby powder. The contamination is suspected to have caused cancer in Johnson & Johnson customers, especially black and Hispanic women.
New York Times
• The ISIS brides. The U.S. and U.K. governments are deciding how to handle the cases of young women who went to Syria to marry ISIS fighters and seek to return now that the group has been driven out of the country. In the U.S., the Trump administration said it would not admit Hoda Muthana, who left at 20, back into the country; 19-year-old Shamima Begum was stripped of her U.K. citizenship.