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April 20, 2018

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Harriet Tubman won’t be on the $20 for at least another eight years, Fearless Girl finds a permanent home, and we meet the coalition of activists, employees, and investors who are pressuring America’s employers into providing better paid family leave. Have a fabulous weekend.

EVERYONE'S TALKING

Leading the charge on leave. Not having paid leave "fundamentally harms women's economic potential," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), co-sponsor of the FAMILY Act—a bill that would establish federally-mandated paid leave—tells me. "Every time she has a family event, a woman has the decision to make: whether to quit her job." But while the push for a legislative solution is moving slowly at best, there are encouraging signs on the corporate front.

In the May issue of Fortune, I write about a years-long dedicated effort—led by investors, coordinated by activists, and implemented by employees themselves—to convince corporate America to change tack on parental leave. One of that campaign's major catalysts is Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US), a two-year-old nonprofit that uses grass-roots tactics and savvy collaboration with shareholders to help workers win better benefits. PL+US's fingerprints can be seen on a number of recent decisions to expand parental leave benefits to hourly workers, most notably Walmart's. The U.S.'s largest private employer announced in January that it would offer 10 paid weeks for all full-time birth mothers. Other service-economy giants have fallen in line: In the first few months of 2018, Starbucks, CVS, TJX, Dollar General, Chipotle, and Gap all bolstered paid-leave policies for hourly employees.

For these workers and their advocates, these changes were monumental—extending to hourly-wage earners a benefit associated with the economic elite. Between them, the companies involved employ about 2.8 million people. And unlike the male-dominated tech companies that made a splash in Silicon Valley's recent paid-leave arms race, their rank-and-file workers are predominantly female—Walmart's workforce, for example, is 55% women. That matters, because women still shoulder most child-rearing and caregiving duties in the U.S., making the lack of paid leave an impediment to their financial security and careers—and a major contributor to the gender pay gap.

Read the full story of how PL+US and its allies are pressuring corporate America into offering more comprehensive paid leave policies:  Fortune

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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

Time to shine. Our sister publication Time's list of 2018's 100 most influential people is out and includes a number of powerful female leaders. A sampling: actor Tiffany Haddish (written about by Kevin Hart), New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (by Sheryl Sandberg), hip hop artist Cardi B (by Taraji P. Henson), and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi (by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards). Time

Harriet has to wait. Despite a 2016 announcement that Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 bill by 2020 (100 years after women earned the right to vote), the Trump administration has delayed the rollout of the new bills until at least 2026. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is blaming the delay partially on the fact that the redesigns have not been finalized or approved for circulation. There are currently no women on U.S. paper currency. Fortune

Tammy keeps blazing trails. Tammy Duckworth made history yesterday (again). The Illinois senator became the first to bring a child onto the Senate floor, after a rule change—that she proposed—allowing Senators to bring to work children under age one. "It is about time, huh?" the Democrat said as she cast a vote with her newborn by her side. Fortune

Margo's big move. Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis has stepped down from the toy maker and joined Ancestry.com as its chief executive. The former Google exec went to Mattel a little over a year ago. In that year, she "overhauled Mattel's management team, suspended its dividend and unveiled plans to slash $650 million in costs." She will join the consumer genomics company next month. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jen Wong, Time Inc.'s former COO, has been named Chief Operating Officer of Reddit. Peak-Ryzex has announced Juliann Larimer as new president and CEO. Cindy Taibi has been named Chief Information Officer of The New York Times. Tia Silas has been named IBM's Chief Diversity Officer. Anna Maria Chavez has been named to the newly created role of Chief Growth Officer and Executive Vice President at the National Council on Aging.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Fearless Girl's here to stay. The Fearless Girl statue that stands in front of the iconic Charging Bull sculpture on Wall Street is relocating outside of the New York Stock Exchange. The statue was initially supposed to remain installed for just a few days, but public affection prompted the city to extend the permit for a year—and now her stay will be "long-term," according to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Fortune

 Why is this a partisan issue? Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is currently the only Republican to sign a letter by his Democratic counterparts that calls for a vote on rewriting Capitol Hill's workplace harassment rules. The letter, organized by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), is in support of a recent, similar push by all 22 women in the Senate. "If we fail to act immediately to address this systemic problem in our own workplace, we will lose all credibility in the eyes of the American public regarding our capacity to protect victims of sexual harassment or discrimination in any setting," the male senators' letter states. Politico

Lee leads a round. Jess Lee, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital's first female investing partner, has made her first public investment (she has led a couple of other rounds of financing, but those companies are still in stealth mode). The VC has chosen to back San Francisco-based startup Wonolo, a marketplace that connects companies with gig economy workers. Fortune

 Too many men. This data- and anecdote-rich WaPo piece about Asia's demographic crisis—there are 70 million more men than women in China and India combined—blew my mind. The piece is divided into four sections detailing the fall-out of such a heavy gender imbalance. Among them: widespread loneliness among men, increased rates of sexual violence and human trafficking, and weird spending patterns (men in China are spending on housing to attract brides, but little on anything else).  Washington Post

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ON MY RADAR

Overlooked no more: Harriott Daley, the Capitol's first telephone operator New York Times

Big investors push harder for more women directors Bloomberg

What senators wanted to know before Tammy Duckworth could bring her baby to work Quartz

Cleo Wade is everybody's BFF New York Times

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QUOTE

I won't drive myself nuts trying to preplan what people are going to say, what they're going to think, even though it terrifies me—I just have to put my energy into finishing.
Singer, actor, and activist Janelle Monae
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