The Broadsheet: March 17

March 17, 2015, 11:38 AM UTC
Fortune

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Eric Schmidt gets called out for manterrupting, Shonda hates diversity, and the “unicorns” have a woman problem. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day.

EVERYONE'S TALKING

The myth of the female unicorn? A Fortune analysis finds that most of the largest and most powerful startups have no women on their boards. When it comes to "unicorns" -- private firms valued at $1 billion or more -- just 6.2% of board seats are held by women. Fortune

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

GM settles. The family of Brooke Melton, a Georgia woman whose death helped trigger a recall crisis at GM, settled all litigation with the Mary Barra-led automaker for more than $5 million. However, the company still faces the possibility of depositions of its employees in a broader class-action case. The death toll connected to GM's defective ignition switches now stands at 67.

 Where are the working women? Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, presented a new report on women in the Indian workforce. The study found that just 33% of working-age women in India are employed or seeking a job (compared to 50% worldwide). Even worse? That number has been declining since about 2004.  Bloomberg

 Shonda vs. "diversity." While accepting an award at the Human Rights Campaign gala this past weekend, Shonda Rhimes came out against the use of the word "diversity." The term implies that stories about women, people of color or LGBT characters are unusual, she says: "I call it 'normalizing.' I make TV look like the world looks."  Refinery29

Excuse us, Eric. Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt got called out at SXSW yesterday. During a panel focused on, among other things, the need for tech to be more inclusive of women, a Q&A participant noted that Schmidt had repeatedly interrupted his fellow panelist, U.S. CTO Megan Smith. Turns out that audience member was Judith Williams, who heads up the Unconscious Bias programs at Google. Her question: How does Smith feel about the unconscious bias that affects her and other women? Popsugar

Team work. IBM, led by Ginni Rometty, and Twitter have partnered up, and are bringing out their first products today. Expect a set of developer tools and cloud-based data analysis services that mine Twitter data. New York Times

BROADVIEW

This St. Patrick's Day, drink like Mila and Christina

Put down that green beer. This St. Patrick's Day, Heather Greene has the perfect Irish whiskey for you.

Greene is the author of Whiskey Distilled, A Populist Guide to the Water of Life and was, until recently, the whisky sommelier at Manhattan cocktail pioneer The Flatiron Room. She's been working in the spirits industry for more than a decade, and she's seen a substantial shift in the number of women who are gravitating toward the brown spirit -- both in professional and social settings.

Indeed, NPR reports that 37% of whiskey drinkers are now female, vs. only about 15% in the 1990s. What's more, spirits companies have started tapping well-known actresses, including Christina Hendricks and Mila Kunis, to appear in whiskey ads.

"Women started drinking it when [whiskey makers] were still ignoring them," Greene says. "Women are a very, very powerful buying market."

Not surprisingly, Greene believes it's impossible to generalize about women's palates or their taste in whiskey. "People assume women are going to go for a lighter, more floral whiskey," she says. "But lots of women are down for an earthy, peaty taste."

Over the years, however, she has noticed some trends among the women in her classes. Female drinkers often have great noses, she says. Greene has encountered a lot of women who can pinpoint olfactory notes quickly, and who can describe and discuss these odors fluently. Plus, women often come to her classes with fewer preconceptions about whiskey, she says. "It's fun to teach women because they're really open and game for anything."

To read my full story, and see Greene's Irish whiskey picks, click here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Hickey speaks out. Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affair, has faced heavy criticism (and calls for her resignation) over the long wait times that some veterans face for benefits and treatment. In this Washington Post profile, Hickey talks about the scandal, as well as the double standards that female veterans say they face in the VA system.  Washington Post

Lego of giving kids beauty tips. A "beauty tips" column in Lego Club Magazine prompts a 7-year-old to wonder about the shape of her face and whether her haircut is flattering. Not surprisingly, her mother's not happy.  New York Times

 Failing math? A new study finds that about one-third of U.S. college presidents believe sexual assault is a problem on American college campuses. However, only 6% believe it’s a problem on their own campuses. Call in the stats prof: something doesn't add up. FiveThirtyEight

Drone on. Motorola Solutions, which makes communication technologies, is investing an undisclosed sum in CyPhy Works, a drone maker founded by Helen Greiner. Grenier is also the co-founder of iRobot, best known for the Roomba vacuum.  Boston Business Journal

 A simple solution. Fed up with the lack of women speaking at tech conferences, investor Sarah Kunst decided to put together her own list of worthy women for conference organizers to invite. Fortune

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ON MY RADAR

Meet "The Bachelor" contestant with her own organic cosmetics company  Fortune

Celebrities join Elton John in Dolce & Gabbana boycott. Celebrities such as Ricky Time

How to be a "bad girl" in India -- it's easier than you think  WSJ

Gilt Groupe's very cloudy future  Re/Code

This "smart" Barbie is raising concerns over children's privacy  The Verge

QUOTE

Worried about the glass ceiling? Build your own house. You can make the ceiling out of whatever you want.

Paula Long, co-founder and CEO of Data Gravity.