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The Broadsheet: November 17th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Executives are taking new measures to track the gender pay gap within their companies, and more young women are protesting in Hong Kong than ever before. Read on to hear why seeing is still believing for Aflac’s first female African-American U.S. president. Have a great start to your week.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• How to Goop. Gwyneth Paltrow has become a role model for other actresses like Drew Barrymore and Blake Lively who are creating companies of their own. Paltrow — who recently hired former Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Lisa Gersh to run her lifestyle startup Goop — says the brand is still in “investment phase.” Meanwhile, Gersh joked with The New York Times that they are ready for “world domination.” NYTimes

 

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

Silicon Valley’s ‘unicorn hunter.’ Jana Rich is a top recruiter for tech companies in Silicon Valley and counts Dick Costolo of Twitter and Larry Page of Google as clients. “Everyone wants to find their unicorn — and she’s sort of the ideal unicorn hunter,” says Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal, adding that Rich “just knows every single person.”  Ozy

• Closing the gap. Despite plenty of research pointing to a persistent gender pay gap across industries, we still know very little about the issues driving the problem. Now, a series of large companies, including military contractor Raytheon, are running transparent pay analyses to figure out what is actually going on. NYTimes

•  The woman who bails out the NFL. Denise White, CEO of EAG Sports Management and a former Miss USA contestant, is responsible for getting the bad boys of the NFL away from shady business deals, claims from litigious strippers and other seedy impulses. White has been brought in by the league at least four times this year to help get some of its star players out of tricky situations. “Most of them are kids still, with millions of dollars, and think they’re untouchable. Then the girl goes and hires an attorney, and it’s 10 grand a month for 18 years. Or 21 if the kid goes off to college,” she told Men’s Journal Men's Journal

‘Just be better than men.’ That was Bethenny Frankel’s message to businesswomen at a panel discussion last week including Frankel, MAKERS creator Dyllan McGee and GlamSquad CEO Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. “Women are so caught up worrying about all the opportunities the men have, what they’re getting paid and what they’re doing. Why are we so focused on looking to the left and to the right? Be in your own lane,” the reality TV star turned entrepreneur said.  Fortune

A first at the post office. The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors appointed Megan Brennan as its next postmaster general and CEO. Brennan will be the first woman to assume the role.  Bizwomen

From the MPW co-chairs: Mother-daughter duo Marjorie Yang, chair of textile giant Esque, and Dee Poon, the CEO of men’s shirtmaker PYE, told Fortune’s Nina Easton that they are working to get Chinese businesses to take environmental protection more seriously. The pair would like to create a “little Aspen Institute” to encourage business leaders to engage in the issue.  Fortune

BROADVIEW

 For female execs, seeing is still believing

When Teresa White was Aflac’s chief administrative officer in 2008, her grandmother came to visit. After stepping into her granddaughter’s office and taking a look around, she handed White a disposable camera from her purse and asked for a favor: She wanted a picture of herself sitting behind her granddaughter’s desk.

In that moment, White realized something. Her then 86-year-old grandmother could never even imagine herself in a job with a large office and grand desk. What’s more, when White started out, she too had never aspired to become a prominent businesswoman. While growing up in Dallas, her single mother made it clear that she needed to finish high school and graduate from college and get a job. But climbing to the top rungs of the corporate ladder seemed inconceivable.

Why? Like her grandmother, White never saw someone similar to herself in those roles.

“It is not because I didn’t think I was smart enough or didn’t think I had the stamina or the education,” she told Fortune. “It just was not something that was on the forefront of what I thought about.”

White’s inability to see herself in an executive position is a common experience still shared among women working in corporate America. After all, women comprise just 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 17% of corporate board members. Without role models that look like them, women like White fly through the corporate ranks without many peers with similar backgrounds. Now, after spending 16 years at global insurance giant Aflac, White was recently promoted to president of the company’s U.S. operations.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• Hong Kong’s “princess” generation hits the streets. As young women in Hong Kong fight against gender stereotypes, they also are playing a much greater role in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. “Even though it’s dangerous, they go to the front lines because they know that Hong Kong belongs to all of us,” an expert told Quartz.  Quartz

Un-ban feminist. After including the word “feminist” in an audience poll of worst words from 2014 that should be banned by 2015, TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs apologized. “We regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice,” she wrote. Before the apology, feminist was winning the poll by a significant margin. Time

ON MY RADAR

7 pieces of advice from Fortune’s best businesswomen  Fortune

Female senators meet for ‘power workshop’  Roll Call

Self-promotion, but with self-respect  NYTimes

The decline of feminism in charts  Quartz

How war photographers “do it all”  Slate

QUOTE

I think women sometimes use the word lucky to diminish what they’ve accomplished. We all have this little impostor syndrome that can lead us to say: 'I shouldn’t really be here. I was just in the right place at the right time.' I don’t think men do that too much.

Sharon Napier, CEO of ad agency Partners + Napier, tells the New York Times.