Skip to Content

The Broadsheet: August 11th

Good morning, Broadsheet Readers. The CEO who quit his job last week to be a better dad is not alone. Read on to hear Hillary Clinton’s criticisms of President Obama’s foreign policy strategy, and to get the anonymous account of one woman’s experience with sexism in Silicon Valley. Have a great start to your week!

EVERYONE’S TALKING

Why does everyone love Mary Barra? Despite tackling the largest vehicle recalls in GM’s history, CEO Mary Barra still is receiving rave reviews from policymakers, business elites and investors alike. Why? “She has portrayed herself as truly contrite and as honest as possible from the start, rather than showing any sort of scorn or hiding in the shadows and not speaking to the press and the public,” write Fortune’s Ben Geier. Barra believes that the problem underlying GM’s ignition switch recall, which went undetected for nearly a decade, starts with the Detroit automaker’s culture. As the CEO diligently manages her role as the face of the company during disaster, Barra also is hard at work behind the scenes to manage GM’s internal issues. If she continues to manage each role effectively, Barra could become “a textbook example of how a CEO should handle a potentially fatal crisis.” Fortune

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• Hillary Clinton faults Obama’s “don’t do stupid stuff” policy. The former Secretary of State said in an interview with The Atlantic that President Obama’s overly-cautious approach to foreign policy is a main reason why the Syrian crisis escalated so dramatically. Obama reportedly coined the phrase “don’t do stupid stuff” to describe his foreign-policy doctrine, but Clinton says that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”  The Atlantic

 Sandberg talks education for women with Malala. On Friday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg chatted with Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani whose nonprofit, The Malala Fund, focuses on empowering women through education. Malala created the fund after she was shot in the head on a schoo bus for fighting for her right to an education. “I’m stronger than terrorism. And I’m stronger than every single thing stopping me from getting an education,” Malala told Sandberg.  Facebook

Meet the professor that makes banks shudder. Stanford Finance Professor Anat R. Admati has said for years that post-financial crisis regulatory changes remain insufficient. Now, President Obama is listening. Last month, he had Admati over for a private lunch with five other economists to discuss their ideas. “Basically what we have here is, the market has decided nobody else should be driving faster than 70 miles an hour, and these are the biggest trucks with the most explosive cargo and they are driving at almost 100 miles an hour,” she tells the NY Times.  NYTimes

Long maternity leaves may be holding women back. There is no question that paid maternity leave improves workforce participation rates for women, but it also might be keeping women out of positions of power. A study of European countries found that long paid leaves and flexible arrangements for part-time moms are probably why women in Europe are half as likely as men to be managers. A possible solution may be offering men the same perks as women. NYTimes

• Polyvore reveals impressive diversity data. The Internet fashion startup disclosed that 59% of its employees are female and 67% of its leadership positions are filled by women. “We’re certainly not as ethnically diverse as we could be,” CEO Jess Lee wrote in an online post. “I’m proud that Polyvore’s engineering team is 26% female, well above the industry standard of 10-15%.”   Polyvore

 • The pipeline isn’t an excuse anymore. The generally low number of women in tech can no longer be rationalized by the relatively small pool of women studying in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, writes venture capitalist Theresia Gouw. Investors, she says, need to expand their networks and invest in companies founded by females to build tech companies that are more reflective of a growing pipeline of women. WSJ

BROADVIEW

The work-life balance movement for men is coming

Several years before becoming chairman and senior partner of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bob Moritz had an important career decision to make. While going through marriage counseling with his wife and juggling two kids at home, Moritz was given the opportunity to take on a new role with more responsibility at the company. The new position would require more travel and more long nights out, which would have meant more time away from his family.

Moritz declined the job, deciding instead to prioritize his struggling marriage and children. Now, a single dad managing two kids in college while pursuing a long-distance relationship, Moritz is joining a growing number of male executives who are willing to talk about  the traditionally portrayed “female issue” of “work-life balance.”

Last week, Max Schireson drew huge attention after penning a blog post about stepping down as CEO of software company MongoDB in order to be a better dad. It’s not surprising that Schireson drew fame for his remarks, says Moritz, because there are plenty of guys like Max out there. 

“Women and men deal with this issue every day,” says Moritz. “A lot of the times, men just don’t express the dissatisfaction the same way.”

Moritz says that too often the “male ego” gets in the way of men wanting to acknowledge the issue. He admits that he felt terrible when he discovered that a colleague recently missed his daughter’s birthday because he was in the office working all night. But after digging a bit deeper, Moritz found out the colleague didn’t even tell anyone that it was his little girl’s big day. 

“I don’t know what is in someone’s head,” says Moritz. “But I see two issues: How do you get him comfortable enough to share that, and how do you get the team sensitive enough to get him comfortable enough and create an environment without even having to ask?”

Roughly 80% of PwC’s staff is made up of millennials, and Moritz says they all are looking for more flexible work environments. While PwC and other big consulting firms like it have no trouble recruiting top female talent, they do have problems retaining women. Making the dialogue about work-life balance more acceptable is just one way to work on that issue, and Moritz says it has to start at the top. 

Bottom line: The work-life balance movement for men is coming. It’s just a matter of time before corporate America wakes up and adapts to stay competitive. 

Why do you think most men don’t talk about work-life balance? Email me at caroline.fairchild@fortune.com with your thoughts. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Surviving sexism as a female founder. A female startup founder anonymously recounts horror stories about trying to start her business in Silicon Valley. Surprisingly, she says it’s not just the men who discriminate. Once when presenting her business plan, a female investor asked her questions like “Did your daddy give you money?” and “How are you going to run up the corporate ladder in those shoes?” Forbes

How to get tweens into tech. Sarah van Kralingen, the sixteen-year-old daughter of IBM’s SVP of Global Business Services Bridget van Kralingen, explains how summer camps can get young girls to love science, math and tech. “Social pressures weave their way into females’ passion for science, convincing girls that they’re not ‘good enough’ or ‘smart enough’ to be engineers or scientists,” she writes for Fortune Fortune

• Why are there so many women in PR? More women are choosing public relations as a profession, and now 63% of PR specialists and 59% of PR managers are female. Despite sometimes unpredictable schedules and clients that can be difficult to please, women in PR enjoy higher salaries than do their peers in similar industries (i.e., journalism.) The personable and collaborative nature of the job may also be attractive to women. The Atlantic

ON MY RADAR

Men say “uh” and women same “um”  The Atlantic

President of Sundance TV: Your imperfection can be your strength  NYTimes

Angel investor pledges against gender bias  WSJ

Professional swimmers often are mentored by women  NYTimes

These women are training to be hackers  Fortune 

QUOTE

You've got to be a problem solver. You can either sit around and talk about all the reasons you can't do something; how, Gee, I've got a new baby at home and I've got a toddler and I've got all these other responsibilities, so I'll put it off … or you can just say, 'How am I going to solve that problem?'

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on having it all.