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The Broadsheet: July 28th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers and welcome to the start of a new week. Read on to see why it may be more challenging for women to lead top college sports programs than Fortune 500 companies.


Sarah Palin announces her own Internet TV network. The former Vice Presidential candidate is embracing her fame in a somewhat bizarre way. On Sunday she announced that she is now the star of The Sarah Palin Channel, an Internet television network that she says will “talk about the issues that the mainstream media won’t talk about.” Palin described the new venture as a community on the web: For $99.55 a year users can post their own content to the channel. Time

• Madeleine Albright: “The world is a mess.” With major crises in Ukraine and Gaza, the former Secretary of State told Face the Nation that globalization and technology are creating uncontrollable conflict around the world. She added that the U.S. should not treat these tensions as if “there is nothing we can do” and that the U.S. has to be at the table to create solutions to end the violence.   CBS News


• When the business of surrogacy goes wrong.  Women who can’t afford to pay more than $100,000 for surrogacy services are more frequently turning to much cheaper services from companies operating in countries like India and Mexico. Planet Hospital, a medical tourism company based in California, is one of those providers and now is under legal investigation for alleged fraudulent activities. Dozens of angry clients from around the world are accusing the company of taking their money and leaving them with nothing but heartache.  NYTimes 

Angela Ahrendts’ Apple rumors begin. The former CEO of Burberry became the tech giant’s SVP of retail this spring, but she has remained silent about her plans. An initial report from blog 9to5Mac is speculating that Ahrendts will soon announce some big changes to Apple’s retail strategy. Among them, the report lists giving customers an option to decide how long they need at the Genius Bar and training employees on a “major new initiative” that will be revealed next month. Business Insider 

 • Scarlett Johansson wins at the box office. Her new thriller Lucy shattered expectations in its opening weekend, earning $44 million and besting action and adventure flick Hercules. Moreoverthe audiences were evenly split gender wise, proving that a woman in power on the big screen can be a real draw for both sexes.  Entertainment Weekly 

Update: An earlier version of this section incorrectly identified the name of the medical tourism company as Planet Hollywood. It is Planet Hospital. This story has been updated to reflect the error. 


The glass ceiling of college sports 

On Saturday, Penn State announced that Sandy Barbour would become the program’s new athletic director. Barbour, previously AD at UC Berkeley, will become the first female AD in Penn State’s history and  just the second woman to lead an athletic department in the Big Ten. 

Indeed, Barbour is among just a small group of female coaches who have figured out how to break the glass ceiling of college sports. While women just under 5% of the CEOs in the Fortune 500, women hold only 4% of the 120 athletic-director positions in Division I-A. In other words, it’s arguably just as difficult for women to rise to the top of college sports programs as major U.S. corporations. 

It’s been more than 30 years sine women’s sports programs joined the NCAA and yet the women at the top of the premiere programs have barely grown. Barbour was qualified to take over Penn State’s scandal-ridden program because of her 10-year tenure at Berkeley, but she is one of just a few women in sports who have been earned similarly impressive work experiences. 

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Judy Sweet, the first female college athletic director to run a combined women and men’s program and the first female president of the NCAA. When I asked Sweet about the dearth of women running top college sports programs, her answer was quite simple.

“The hiring agents don’t give the same level of commitment to hiring for women’s teams,” says Sweet. “They take whoever might be available, and in a lot of instances they hire young women without a lot of experience… The young woman doesn’t get any support. They don’t do anything to professionally develop her into a successful coach. They don’t make an investment in her success. She gets discouraged, she doesn’t win and they fire her.” 

The result is a small pool of women who build a track record of success at their respective universities to stick it out to become the head of the program. The trend is something that Sweet is all too familiar with after working in college sports since the 1970s. She added that she is worried about the future of college sports because it is “so far off track right now with respect to a value system.”

Penn State president Eric Barron said during Saturday’s news conference that Barbour was “the clear choice” and “the first choice” of every single committee member. Until the NCAA reconsiders how it goes about hiring its coaches, few women will have the opportunity to build strong resumes like hers. 

What did I miss? Email me at with your thoughts. 


Female cyclists make history in first day of Tour de France. On Sunday, for the first time in 25 years, women were allowed to participate in a 56-mile race around Paris before the male Tour de France competitors completed the final stage of the race. The mini-race granted women access to just 2.5% of the Tour’s full route but was seen as a huge step toward getting women more involved in the male-dominated world of competitive cycling.  NYTimes

Women to NFL: We matter. The NFL ruled last week that Ray Rice, a Baltimore Ravens running back who hit his then-fiancée unconscious in a casino elevator earlier this year, would only be suspended for only two games next season. The ridiculously inadequate suspension had everyone this weekend abuzz about how disrespectful to women the NFL’s decision is. Yet no one summed up the problem more aptly than ESPN’s Mina Kimes (a former Fortune reporter) who explained why if the NFL is not mortified by its decisions for moral reasons, it should be for financial ones. ESPN

Nike swoosh creator: The design almost got nixed. In 1971, Carolyn Davidson presented her black checkmark graphic to three male Nike execs who were less than thrilled with the design. On a tight deadline to get something to market, the execs went with the design anyway and handed Davidson a $35 check for her work. Now, nearly 40 years later, the Nike swoosh is arguably one of the most renowned corporate logos in history. Oregonian


Is having a new baby and a job you love a “no-win” situation?   NYTimes 

The case for Marissa Mayer, “CEO genius”   CNBC 

Why Under Armor is targeting women this football season  Baltimore Business Journal 

Is Congress guilty of “mansplaining” to Janet Yellen?  Slate 

Meet the new Wonder Woman  Policy Mic  


The discussion too often ends where it began: With privileged, mostly white women at the forefront... A consequence of this thinking has been to maintain the status quo of making white men's experiences the standard to which all others are compared.

NPR's Michel Martin writes in The National Journal that conversations about women in the workplace still ignore race.