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The Broadsheet: July 9th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Fortune Most Powerful Women team had a banner day yesterday. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer signed up to attend the MPW Summit, the premiere gathering of women leaders in business and beyond. The MPW Summit takes place Oct. 6-8 in Laguna Niguel, CA. The CEO/founder of blood diagnostics company Theranos Elizabeth Holmes — the subject of a recent Fortune cover profile – is also coming. Both on-stage interviews will make headlines. As for today, here are the top stories.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

Mary Barra goes back into the hot seat.  The GM chief executive is headed back to Congress on July 17, for the first time since she testified last month in hearings that focused on why the company waited nearly a decade to issue a safety recall on millions of defective cars. We’re eager to hear what she has to say about a June Bloomberg report that claimed that at least one employee heavily involved with the ignition flaw is still at the company. Economic Times

• Meg Whitman’s mistake? Soon after she took over as CEO of beleaguered Hewlett-Packard in 2011, Whitman invested heavily in research and development. A study out today shows that since 1977, companies with the lowest spending on R&D have tended to perform best on Wall Street. The study has its flaws, namely that R&D is a difficult investment to measure. But it suggests one reason whyWhitman, while well-intentioned to turn around HP, is still struggling.  BusinessWeek

IN THE HEADLINES

• Barclays is betting on companies with women on top. On Tuesday, the British-based bank announced it would begin trading ETNs, or exchange-traded notes, that track a “Women in Leadership” index of U.S. companies with gender-diverse managements. As Fortune Senior Editor at Large Pattie Sellers reported, the Barclays index includes large firms with a woman CEO or a board of directors that’s at least 25% female. We applaud this effort, but Barclays still has work to do investing in their own pool of female talent: the bank has three women among its 14 directors.  Fortune

•  Should female secretaries be paid at the same rate as male landscapers? McGill University thinks so. A program mandated by Canadian law encouraged the Montreal college to spend 13 years and $19 million to close the gender wage gap among their 12,000 employees. As more American companies get pressured to report gender pay data, McGill’s efforts offer an interesting blueprint for what the future may bring.  Wall Street Journal

• If Netgear can find women for top positions, why can’t the others? A low-profile electronics company with 1,000 employees, Netgear has one of the most gender-diverse staffs in Silicon Valley. Nearly one-third of the senior ranks are women. What’s the secret? “If you want to go out and recruit a typical Silicon Valley board member, you could easily go through your own network and find a man,” says Network exec name TK. “But you have to be willing to dig deeper, talk to recruiters, expand your horizons.”  Fortune

BROADVIEW

Why Kim Kardashian Says She “Has It All,” But Indra Nooyi Can’t

Kim Kardashian and Indra Nooyi are two names that I never thought I’d write in the same sentence. Yet somehow, the celeb who is everywhere figured out a way to converge paths with the PepsiCo CEO.

Last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Nooyi made headlines for her remarks that women can’t have it all. “We pretend we can have it all,” she said, but “every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother. In fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions.”

In a CNBC interview this week, Kardashian responded to Nooyi’s claims: “I feel like it’s a little bit discouraging to say that. Even if I couldn’t and it wasn’t possible, I would try.”  

Despite the dichotomy of Nooyi and Kardashian’s careers, I think we can agree that both women have demanding day jobs on top of managing families at home. Yet the two women’s contrasting reactions to the “having it all” debate comes down to one simple fact: Kardashian is evaluated by appearance, while Nooyi is judged on her company’s performance.

 

It’s easy for a celebrity whose job description is all about photo ops and video shoots to put on a happy face for the camera — literally — and say that she “has it all.” Just look at this photo of Kardashian fresh off a photo shoot baby stroller in tow:

 

It is whole other story to ask Nooyi — who must answer to shareholders, PepsiCo’s board and thousands of employees — to pull off the same attitude. In fact, Jody Miller, the CEO of Business Talent Group, told me that she’s found that women executives like Nooyi (and some male executives) often hesitate publicly to admit they “have it all” in order to conform to traditional notions of the 24/7business culture. On the other end of the spectrum, some female business leaders — perhaps like Kardashian — overstate their ability to be with family because it suits the image they want to present.

 

What’s needed is a more honest discussion of women who fall between the polarizing spectrum that Nooyi and Kardashian represent. Says career strategist and former IBM executive Megan Dalla-Camina: “Women need to stop making these blanket statements that women can or cannot have it all.”

Did the Broadview hit the mark? Email me at caroline.fairchild@fortune.com with your thoughts. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• The “Princeton Mom” is at it again. Remember Susan Patton, A.K.A. “The Princeton Mom” who famously encouraged college-educated girls to marry while they’re still in school, before all the good men get snatched up? Now she’s telling married older women to stop acting like “entitled princesses,” as feminists “have over-corrected” for past inequalities. Sorry, Susan, but your one-woman campaign to push the female race back 50 years isn’t working for this crowd.  PolicyMic

• Why we hire women to clean up our messes. Ever since the General Motors recall disaster began, we’ve heard a lot of murmurs about Mary Barra falling of the “glass cliff.” For the uninitiated, the “glass cliff” is a theory that women and minorities are often pushed into leadership positions during times of crisis to be set up to fail. Why do companies do this? Researchers suggest that one reason is that women may be judged as better able to apologize for a company’s missteps.   HuffPost 

WHAT I’M READING

The gender pay gap starts just four years after graduation   Fortune

Management shakeup at ABC family as Katie Juergens departs   LA Times

In defense of Taylor Swift   Quartz

The all-time U.S. leading soccer goal scorer is a woman   Jezebel

J.K. Rowling brings Harry Potter back.   Time

 

 

Quote

Why do they have to hold them (the roses) as if they are playing darts in a bar in Scotland? I’ve never understood the rose hold. Why two hands? It’s a rose, just fling it around, have fun with it, explore the space.

Brian Williams on his obsession with The Bachelorette, proving that the reality show really does had a broad appeal. Enjoy your Wednesday!