Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hillary makes a big hire, NASA’s chief scientist vouches for the existence of extraterrestrial life, and the NFL confirms that it’s hired its first full-time female official. Have a great Thursday.
• Hillary’s hiring. On a recruiting tear before her soon-to-be-announced presidential bid, Hillary Clinton has brought on Google exec Stephanie Hannon. Google’s director of product management for civic innovation and social impact, Hannon will now serve as Clinton’s chief technology officer. Re/Code
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• They’re out there. NASA’s chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, says she believes that the first indications of alien life could come by 2025. The space agency knows where to look for extraterrestrial life, she says, and she expects we’ll see concrete evidence. Of course, if you’re picturing little green men, prepare to be disappointed. “We’re talking about little microbes,” says Stofan. ABCNews
• The case against quotas. New research finds that quotas aren’t the most effective way to increase the number of women who get–and keep–seats on corporate boards. So what does work? Increasing a country’s female economic power, as defined by the expected number of years of schooling for girls and the percentage of women in the workforce. Also important: a written company policy that mentions gender diversity. NY Times
• A Serial sequel? Rabia Chaudry, the woman who introduced Serial podcast reporter Sarah Koenig to the murder case that sent Adnan Syed to prison, is starting her own podcast. The new series, Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syed, will pick up where Serial left off. It will include new reporting and commentary on the case of Syed, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1999. Chaudry is a Syed family friend, and her podcast premieres April 13. Slate
• Resignation rumors. In the wake of a series of corruption scandals, there have been whispers that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will resign. Bachelet insists that she’s staying put, but there’s no denying that voters aren’t happy. Over the past year, the percentage of Chileans expressing disapproval with Bachelet’s leadership has jumped from 20% to 61%. The Guardian
• A drug deal. Pharma company Mylan, led by CEO Heather Bresch, has made an unsolicited offer to acquire OTC drug maker Perrigo for $29 billion. The deal would extensively expand Mylan’s product range. The merger would likely generate some controversy: Both companies were once based in the U.S., but have recently reincorporated in Europe to reduce their tax bills. NY Times
• Malia and Sacha in the spotlight? In an interview about the connection between climate change and rising asthma rates, President Obama brought up an asthma attack suffered by his daughter Malia. The Washington Post argues that the president typically takes a hard line on his daughters’ privacy but isn’t afraid to invoke them when it fits his policy agenda. He’s also brought up the girls while discussing same-sex marriage and the cost of education. Washington Post
Will appointing the first female ref help clean up the NFL’s reputation?
On Wednesday, the swirl of rumors were confirmed: The NFL has hired its first ever full-time female official. Sarah Thomas, 42, will be an NFL line judge in the 2015 season.
It’s impossible to see the NFL make any high-profile moves involving women without thinking about last year’s Ray Rice domestic violence scandal. In the wake of that disaster, influential league figures, including commissioner Roger Goodell, acknowledged that the NFL has a dismal track record when it comes to hiring women. Indeed, a scorecard released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports in late 2014 gave the league a C-minus for gender hiring practices. That’s the worst score given to any pro sports league.
The league has taken some steps to address the problem. Dawn Hudson joined last September as chief marketing officer. Around the same time, Anna Isaacson became the NFL’s first VP of social responsibility, tasked with overhauling the league’s domestic violence policies.
Former Fortune reporter Caroline Fairchild weighed in on these moves last year, saying that to truly create change, the NFL must move women into key operational jobs, such as presidents, general managers and coaches.
While I don’t argue with that point, there is something to be said for having a female official out there on the field. Visibility is important. For the average fan, watching Thomas do her job will be meaningful in a way that no behind-the-scenes roll could be. And what position carries more authority? As a line judge, Thomas will literally be calling the shots.
To read the rest of my story, click here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Charges in China. Police officers in Beijing have asked prosecutors to charge five women’s rights activists with organizing a crowd to disturb public order. The women have already been held for more than a month, and the filing will allow the police to detain them for seven more days while prosecutors make a decision on whether to bring charges. The activists were originally taken into custody over plans to organize a nationwide campaign against sexual harassment on public transportation. NY Times
• Pregnancy pampering. Would you pay up to $10,000 for a “maternity concierge” to locate the best breast pump, investigate stollers and more? Maybe not, but it seems that there are some women who will. Rosie Pope, former star of the reality show Pregnant in Heels, is the co-founder of Rosie Pope Maternity + Baby, a service that promises to help out busy moms-to-be with everything from planning the shower to finding a certified home baby-proofer. Fortune
• Secret Service suspension. The Secret Service has put a senior supervisor on leave and suspended his security clearance after a female employee accused him of assaulting her at agency headquarters last week. The woman told investigators that her boss made unwanted sexual advances after they returned to the office from a party. There’s clearly something amiss at the agency: This is second time in a month that the Secret Service has dealt with alleged staff misconduct after a work-related social event. Washington Post
• The ed tech edge. There is one corner of the tech industry where women are beginning to get greater representation: education technology. Companies with female founders make up 30.5% of the startups in three of major ed-tech incubators. What separates ed tech from other Silicon Valley niches? It likely has something to do with the fact that women know this field cold. Three-quarters of U.S. educators are female, according to the BLS. Quartz
• Reid’s replacement. Former Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto announced that she’s running for Democratic leader Harry Reid’s Senate seat. Reid is retiring after five terms. Cortez Masto left her new job as the executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education this week, and she is widely considered the frontrunner among Dems–at least for now. AP
• Rise of the daddy bloggers? Mommy bloggers are getting some competition: Fatherly, a new parenting site, aims to corner the market on millennial dads. The new lifestyle site features content for men who want to be good dads–and don’t want to compromise their hipster cred. Want to get hide-and-seek tips from a Navy SEAL? Check out Fatherly. Fortune
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