The Broadsheet: August 18th

August 18, 2014, 11:09 AM UTC

Happy Monday, Broadsheet readers. Today we learn how Apple “doubled” the number of women on its leadership team overnight, and why critics have found another reason to complain about Hillary Clinton’s income. Read on for an alternative approach to achieving gender balance in leadership positions. Have a great start to the week!


 NBA Union chief talks gender barriers. Michele Roberts was a long shot to take over the NBA player's union -- just one of 300 candidates. But despite her lack of sports and labor relations experience, she convinced players that she would be their best advocate. Roberts will be taking over the post after longtime director Billy Hunter was ousted over charges of mismanagement and abuse of power. Her goal: Bring a level of transparency to the organization that she feels has been missing for years. NYTimes


 Google takes a page from DARPA’s secret book. Regina Dugan, the former head of the U.S. Department of Defense’s tech research arm DARPA, is now helping Google invent the next generation of mobile wonders. While Dugan is keeping specific details under wraps, she told Fortune’s Miguel Helft: “Here we don’t tinker. We build new things, sometimes seemingly impossible things.”   Fortune

Apple “doubled” the number of women on its leadership team. Well, not quite, but the iPhone maker did update the webpage of its "leadership" team to include the company’s five vice presidents. Two of them are women. The sudden decision to post VPs on Apple’s official leadership page -- just days after the company released dismal employee diversity data -- is being criticized as a ploy to appear more diverse.  Fortune

 Uber may be helping women break into the taxi industry. More women may choose to drive for UberX than to drive in the traditional taxi industry because Uber's mobile platform minimizes danger, writes The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf. Being able to select whom they pick up and from what areas of town makes the job a lot more attractive to women who may feel vulnerable picking up strangers.  The Atlantic 

 Criticism of Hillary Clinton’s pay continues. The presumptive presidential candidate not only asks for around $200,000 to speak publicly, but she also has expensive transportation and lodging requirements. Private jets and luxury hotels, according to documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas Review-Journal 

QVC Exec: Work-life balance is self-defined. Claire Watts, the head of QVC’s U.S. operations, told the Wall Street Journal that work-life balance is attainable, but only based on your personal requirements. “I don’t think there’s any one standard for work life balance. It is a very personal decision.” WSJ 


Why “leaning in” isn’t enough

Women allow men to earn a majority of top jobs by not "sitting at the table" and sometimes "leaving before they leave," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote last year in Lean In. Now, a new book by two European professors offers another angle to the discussion.

“The gender gap in leadership persists because most people — including the very men and women who have the authority and influence to do something about it — do not believe that they can do anything about it,” Lynn Roseberry and Johan Roos wrote this weekend in The Daily Beast about their new book Bridging The Gender Gap

Roseberry, a professor at Copenhagen Business School, and Roos, CEO of Jönköping International Business School, contend that this belief leads to a series of gender myths. “Women just aren’t ambitious or confident enough” and “irresistible market forces direct more women than men away from leadership” are among some of several myths that the authors discovered were pervasive in fields as varied as varied as history, law, psychology and neuroscience.

In order to achieve gender balance in leadership, Roseberry and Roos go on to offer seven guiding principles, regardless of industry. Here are the three that I found the most interesting:

  1. Leave the past behind. Stop adhering to anachronistic stereotypes about men and women and the roles they should play in their careers.  
  2. Beware when it feels right; it might be wrong. Your cultural upbringing may make you think you are not being biased, but you probably are.  
  3. Understand that ambition is genderless. Women have just as much ambition as men. It is an excuse to think otherwise.  

My hunch is that the solution to gender equality in leadership lies somewhere between Sandberg’s call to action for working women and Roseberry and Roos’s guiding principles for institutions and their senior management. Like Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat said in July, “If you are leaning in to a door that is nailed shut, you are just going to get bloodied and tired of trying to push that door open.”

Women need to keep leaning, but it’s up to everyone to help take the nails off the doors.

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


Hollywood’s exclusion of women hurts the bottom line. Films that feature meaningful interactions with women are uncommon but outperform at the box office, according to a data analysis by FiveThirtyEight. Hopefully, it only will be a matter of time before this economic reality forces filmmakers to create more substantial roles for female actors.  FiveThirtyEight

Women make their mark as Masters of Wine. There are just 34 Americans who have gone through the grueling process of becoming Masters of Wine, and 10 of them are women. Considered the single greatest achievement in the wine world, becoming a Master of Wine can take decades to achieve and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. "It's not enough to know all the famous wines and the impressive names. You need to understand the retail trends, the three-tier distribution system," one master told The Wall Street Journal.  WSJ

 Want to go to an “egg-freezing” party? Putting off motherhood is getting so popular that people are now celebrating it. A New York startup has started throwing informational parties at the NoMad Hotel to discuss the ins and outs of egg-freezing. The event is called “Let’s Chill” and tickets go for $45.  NYPost


Should Marissa Mayer's salary be linked to Yahoo's stock?  Forbes  

100 inspiring women throughout history  Buzzfeed

Modern Muslim women give the hijab a makeover  NYTimes  

How to fill the pipeline with powerful, female role models  WSJ  

What Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova is reading  NYTimes  


We undeniably have a long way to go before we have more women like YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki at the top, but we are getting closer by moving away from gender and focusing on talent. If a young female entrepreneur is reading this, I simply advise you to embrace who you are, believe in yourself and ability to succeed, work as hard as you can, and surround yourself with the very best people.

Shahrzad Rafati, CEO of one of YouTube’s largest multi channel networks, BroadbandTV, writes in <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>.