The Broadsheet: January 22nd

January 22, 2016, 12:52 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! HeForShe drops some news in Davos, Avon gets defensive, and we get an important reminder about the power of a… well, let’s just call it a rainy day fund. Plus: Your responses to my question about sexism and Silicon Valley hoodies. Have a wonderful weekend.


 Hurry up, 2020! In one of the more interesting gender-focused announcements to come out of Davos, ten male executives—including the COO of Twitter and CEO of Unilever—teamed up with UN’s HeForShe campaign to commit to achieving gender parity at their workplaces by 2020.  Fortune


 Lipstick on a pig? Executives from Avon Products and Cerberus Capital Management are defending a deal that would give the private-equity firm take a large stake in the struggling beauty company led by CEO Sheri McCoy. Avon shares have nosedived since the plan was announced last month. WSJ

 Hollywood, shmollywood. Vimeo is launching an initiative to help fund and promote movies made by women.  Wired

 The "FO" fund. This post explains exactly why every woman, and particularly every young woman, needs a savings account—otherwise known as a "f**k off fund."  The Billfold

 Flint's not funny. Comedian Sandra Bernhard writes about her childhood in Flint, Michigan and her hopes for city's future.   Time

 Banking on Bitcoin. Blythe Masters has raised $52 million from big banks such as Citi, Santander, and her former employer, JPMorgan Chase, for a startup built on the technology underlying the Bitcoin virtual currency.   New York Times

Five more years? The International Monetary Fund has launched its search for a new leader, although insiders say that current managing director Christine Lagarde, whose first term expires in July, is a shoo-in for another five years. WSJ

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Maria Vullo, an attorney with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, has been nominated Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, New York’s top banking regulator. Publicis Worldwide has promoted Carla Serrano to CEO of its New York office.


Are Silicon Valley hoodies really keeping women down?

Is the "slob chic" favored by so many of Silicon Valley's boy wonders bad for women in tech? And, if so, is the difficulty these women face really all that different from the sartorial struggles of women in other male-dominated industries?

That's the question I posed to Broadsheet readers earlier this month. My inspiration came from "The Subtle Sexism of Hoodies" by Aimee Groth, which argued that tech's hoodie culture leaves women out of the "tribe" and creates confusion about what counts as appropriate workwear.

Below, a sampling of what readers had to say. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Not surprisingly, many of the responses came from women with personal experience in the tech industry:

"The issue is not unique to tech. Even in 'dress up' environments, women are stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to look both fashionable and professional, without being too trendy or overexposing themselves. And no matter what, all too often, our fashion choices become the first thing people talk about, no matter what's coming out of our mouths.

An incident comes to mind: At a tech company where I previously worked, a colleague told me she had heard it on good word from the guys in the pod next to us thought our team was comprised of 'the best dressed and best-looking women at the company.' I guess she thought it was an innocent compliment, but given that it was coming from a group of men—at an extremely male-dominated company with notorious culture—I found it out of line.

In short, it's a man's world. No matter what we are wearing (or not wearing.)"

--A.G., who works in technology in the Bay Area

"As a woman in the tech I definitely related to the article. Everyday in the summer, when it is 90-plus degrees I wear a skirt to work and am asked why I am so dressed up. I tell the guys I can't really wear shorts—they wouldn't be appropriate. If I wear a hoodie like the rest of the guys, I'm asked if I am okay because I look tired and I usually dress up more. I have resorted to mostly wearing a black shirt and dark wash jeans because that's the thing I will get least criticism on."

-- Julie Byers, who lives in Indianapolis and works for a Silicon Valley tech company

"While I was working in tech, I was busy thinking about how to explain non-relational databases, not what to wear while I did it."

--Writer Suzannah Weiss

To read more responses, please go here.


 Shoe lovers, unite! Broadsheet readers aren't the only ones with opinions about work attire. Brit + Co founder and CEO Brit Morin writes about how she bonded with a female investor over a pair of heels—a reminder that women shouldn't be afraid to show a little fashion flair at work.  Fortune

 The definition of #girlboss. 29-year-old Shani Hilton talks to Re/code’s Kara Swisher about managing a staff of more than 100 as Buzzfeed's executive editor of news.  Re/Code

 Lynch calls for backupU.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Congress that the government must hire more people to perform background checks on would-be gun buyers, insisting that the current system is overwhelmed.  WSJ

 Ready for her closeup. Annie Leibovitz talks about photographing Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, and more for Women: New Portraits, a touring exhibition commissioned by UBS. Bloomberg

Tune in to Fortune Live, hosted by Leigh Gallagher, today and every Friday at 3 pm ET at

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How Jhumpa Lahiri learned to write again  WSJ

Inside YouTube's weird world of football makeup  Fortune

Carly Fiorina accused of "ambushing" children at anti-abortion rally  The Guardian

At Davos, companies use lingerie boutiques to woo the global elite  Fortune


The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system.

Two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis, pointing out how few black films are produced.