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The Broadsheet: October 1st

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Some employers begin offering workers genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer, Carly Fiorina’s super PAC bends the rules, and Melania Trump is in the spotlight—whether she likes it or not.


• Meeting Melania. Looks like it’s Melania Trump’s turn in the spotlight: The former model is the subject of two big profiles. The Washington Post calls her “an unconventional spouse of a most unconventional presidential candidate,” noting that if she lands in the White House, she would be the first third wife to become First Lady—and also likely to be the first First Lady to speak four languages. The New York Times speculates about the unusually passive role she’s played in Donald’s campaign, quoting one Republican pollster who suggests that Melania stays silent because politics is “not her world. And if it’s not your world, you will get tripped.”


• Everywhere you want to work? Visa is among several companies offering their employees a new benefit: genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer. Fortune

• Carly PACs it in. Carly for America, a political action committee supporting Carly Fiorina, is using a loophole in federal election rules to plan and fund many of her campaign events. New York Times

• The force is with her. Ashley Eckstein’s company, HER Universe, makes t-shirts for Star Wars fan girls. The entrepreneur got her first big break when Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, took the stage at last spring’s Star Wars Celebration, wearing an Eckstein design.  Fortune

• Baby brouhahaAfter calling on women to contribute to the country’s wellbeing by having more babies, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, is refuting charges of sexism. His comments come at a particularly awkward time, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in the midst of a big push to bring more Japanese women into the workforce. The Guardian

• Hillary’s mailbag. The latest batch of released emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server reveal that her longtime aide Huma Abedin sent at least one message from the account. The dump also revealed a fun Fortune fact: An email from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills made mention of 2008 post by Fortune’s Pattie Sellers about Sandberg’s Women of Silicon Valley events. Fortune

• Boston goes big. Babson College is teaming up with Boston-based Breakaway for a women-only pitch contest that will reward the winning team with $250,000—which the school claims is the largest amount of funding awarded in a business competition for women. Beta Boston

• Power broker bosses. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School, writes about trying to understand why surveys show that men and women alike prefer male bosses. She finds that female bosses aren’t seen as having “the power to take others with her into the next opportunity.” Her solution: turn more women into power brokers. WSJ


Don’t blame having kids for steering women away from the C-suite.

A new workplace equality study released Wednesday by and McKinsey & Co. reiterates many of the depressing facts that those keeping tabs on this type of research already know: Women lag behind when it comes to getting promoted, reaching upper management and setting their sights on the C-suite.

However, what jumped out for me was a question the researchers asked about why women are less likely to aspire to a top job. They asked those who said they did not aspire to a top position about the factors that drove that decision, and broke out their responses not just by men and women, but also by who does and does not have children.

Just 35% of the women without kids said that they were worried that it would be too difficult to balance being a top exec with “family commitments,” compared to 65% of those with children. But most of the women with children (55%) and without children (55%) share one major concern: the stress of such a job.

Here’s why I believe that’s important: Whether explicit or implicit, the idea that women are also mothers (or will eventually become mothers) is bound up in 99% of our conversations about women’s workplace equality. Indeed, as someone who covers such issues, I’ve always found it a little awkward that I don’t have children (let alone a spouse).

To read the rest of my story, click here.


• A short shelf life. Actress Blake Lively is shutting down her e-commerce lifestyle site, Preserve, just 14 months after it launched. People

• Get well, Donna. Clinton Foundation president Donna Shalala suffered a stroke shortly after the closing ceremonies of the organization’s major fall event. New York Times

• Winslet’s Jobs job. Kate Winslet talks about playing Steve Jobs’s confidante and marketing chief, Joanna Hoffman, in the upcoming biopic about the late Apple founder. When she first heard about the film, Winslet thought, “I’ve got to get in on this gig”—but landing the role wasn’t easy. WSJ

• From Edward to Julian. Documentarian Laura Poitras, who won an Oscar for her film about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, has released her latest project: Asylum, a series about WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.  The New Republic

• California dreamin’. California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the state’s Fair Pay Act into law in the coming days. While the law aims to close the gender pay gap, this op-ed argues that it may actually end up hurting some women.  WSJ

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WeWork CEO: The best piece of advice I ever got came from my wife  Fortune

The politics of pantyhose  New York Times

The hardest-working scapegoat in Washington  Huffington Post

Female leaders gather to underline the importance of educating girls  The Guardian


'You often play very strong women… Why do you choose…? Blah blah blah.' No man is ever asked: 'You often play very strong men. Why?' It would be an absurd question.’

Actress Meryl Streep, on the most annoying question women get asked in interviews