The Broadsheet: December 1st

December 1, 2014, 12:32 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. I’m back from vacation and on my way to San Francisco for our inaugural Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. Read on to hear from Ray Rice’s wife for the first time since the elevator incident, and to see why I think we need to move the focus away from tech’s pay gap. Have a great Monday!


Janay Rice speaks out. The wife of NFL running back Ray Rice came forward for the first time to publicly discuss the night her husband knocked her unconscious in an elevator. Janay said her husband is fully aware that what he did was wrong, and added that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was a "really reasonable and caring guy" when dealing with the aftermath of the incident. Janay, who has not watched the video in which she is punched, also defended her controversial decision to apologize for her involvement in the incident. "Who am I to put my hands on somebody?" she said, referring to the fact that she hit Ray as well that night. On Friday, it was also announced that Ray Rice won his appeal and has been reinstated in the NFL. A Matt Lauer interview with Janay and Ray will air today and tomorrow.  Sports Illustrated


 She is just getting started. Anita Sarkeesian, the media critic and blogger who has become the face of a crusade to end sexism and harassment in video game culture, says she has no plans to back off. “Harassment is the background radiation of my life,” she told Bloomberg Businessweek in its latest cover story. “It is a factor in every decision I make. Any time I tweet something, or make a post, I’m always thinking about it. When I post our videos, it’s a consideration. It affects where I go, and how I behave, and how I feel walking down the street every day.” Businessweek

1 in 15. Working women in China have a 1-in-15 chance of reaching the highest executive level within their companies, according to a report by Bain & Co. Although China has one of the highest female labor participation rates, at 73%, women hold just 10% of executive-level jobs. WSJ

A new kind of gender gap. Yes, women make less than men on average, but they are putting more of their paychecks into savings, according to Fidelty Investments. Women earning between $20,000 and $40,000, for example, save about $2,000 more each year than their male counterparts do. Bloomberg

26 years for blasphemy. Pakistani actress Veena Malik might go to jail for 26 years because of her role on a television program that the government deems to be anti-religion.   India Times

How to gift like a pro. Olivia Kim, Nordstrom's 37-year-old director of creative projects, says her favorite gifts to give are magazine subscriptions. The worst gifts are those where "you are trying to change who that person is, like giving a perfume because you don’t like the way the person smells," she added. Since we're now all in the giving spirit, here are 17 holiday gift ideas for the businesswomen in your life. WSJ


Much ado about pay 

Last week, Glassdoor came out with a study looking at the the gender gap in pay and satisfaction between men and women at America's 25 largest tech companies. The results showed something we all already know: Women are typically paid less than men and they don't like their jobs as much. At HP, for example, Glassdoor found that a woman with nearly 10 years of experience makes an average of $91,730 per year, while a man with 8.5 years of experience makes $96,423.

I take some issue with the small sample size Glassdoor used to come to its conclusions, but transparency in pay is always a good thing. While we've seen droves of tech companies come forward publicly with employee diversity data, no companies are eagerly willing to break down how much female employees get paid compared to their male counterparts. Yet my fear is that if we focus on pay, as opposed to the underlying issues leading to the gap, we're never going to get anywhere.

As Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, has told me in interviews and written for Fortunethere are problems that are not as easily quantifiable as pay. Women are not promoted at the same rate as men and therefore have fewer female mentors, sponsors and role models. Also, there is a persistent culture of unspoken and perhaps unconscious bias within the tech industry that could be fueling the shortage of raises granted to female employees. Fixing these issues will take years, if not decades, but they arguably need to be addressed first before we even attempt to fix the pervasive gender gap in pay within the industry.

In short, "The gender pay gap in tech" may be a provocative headline, but it's not a story that will move the needle in the right direction by itself.

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


 Frozen II? Disney's most-watched animated film in decades may be getting a sequel, according to "Elsa" (otherwise known as actress Idina Menzel). People

The Michael Jordan of skiing. Solvenia's Tina Maze may be the greatest skier of our time, argues The Atlantic's Noah Charney. "The Babe Ruth of the sport will be racing this winter. Stand up in front of your TV and feel your heart shudder as Maze plunges down the slope at 95 miles per hour," he writes. The Atlantic

Business travel while pregnant. Do airlines discriminate against women? One mom who  typically travels 100,000 miles a year for work says yes. Morra Aarons recently cut back her travel due to her third pregnancy and lost her frequent flier status as a result. "Regressive policies like US Airways’ help keep women back," she wrote. "Frequent flier status is a subject of near obsession for business travelers, and with good reason. It’s not about perks, but about making life on the road bearable." Medium


Why women's workplace expectations fall short  NYTimes

Video: When a woman walks down the street  The Atlantic

7 of the most difficult conversations in recent history  Fast Company

The best (and worst) countries for work-life balance  Policy Mic

Asking for a raise, after 10 years  NYTimes


Imagine the weight on my shoulders. How many male superhero movies fail? So now, we finally get Wonder Woman with a female director, imagine if it fails. And you have no control over marketing, over budget. So without any control, you carry the fuc*ing weight of gender equality for both characters and women directors. No way.

Film director Lexi Alexander explains why she is not interested in directing the upcoming Wonder Woman movie by Warner Bros.