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The Broadsheet: January 3rd

Good morning and happy new year, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here. Working women have lots to look forward to in 2017, Ellen Kullman talks about her latest gig, and a French pharma company wants to bring OTC birth control to the U.S. Have a productive Tuesday.


Out with the old, in with the new. In many ways, 2016 felt like a giant step backward for supporters of gender equality and women’s advancement. Instead of its first female commander-in-chief, the U.S. got a president-elect who won the White House even after bragging—on tape—about groping women. Bright young business stars, most notably Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, either fell off the glass cliff or simply back down to Earth.

Yet the year was also filled with plenty of happy dance-worthy moments, such as Icelandic MP Unnur Bra Konradsdottir’s decision to breastfeed while responding to a bill in Parliament, the launch of the largest-ever all-female scientific expedition to Antarctica, and moves by Illinois and New York to stop taxing tampons and other feminine hygiene products as “luxury items.”

Looking ahead, women have much to be excited about this year. For one thing, 2017 is already shaping up to be the best-ever year for female Fortune 500 CEOs. By the end of the first quarter, there will be 27 women leading Fortune 500 companies (currently, there are 24 female chiefs on the list).

Paid leave laws are also on the docket for 2017, with a number of provisions going into effect across the U.S., including state-wide laws in Arizona and Vermont. Perhaps even more heartening: By October, all employers with 100 or more employees will have to report compensation data by gender, race, and ethnicity to the U.S. government, a policy that has the potential to reduce—and maybe eventually help close—the gender wage gap.


• The diamond ceiling. New research shows that after making big strides in the 1980s and ’90s, the number of women breaking into the top 1% of earners has stalled: Women account for only 16% of the 1%, a number that has remained essentially flat over the past decade. New York Times

• OTC birth control. French pharmaceutical company HRA Pharma is partnering with advocates and experts from nonprofit Ibis Reproductive Health to start the process of bringing an over-the-counter oral contraceptive to the U.S. market. Vox

• Power of She. Today, Athleta is releasing the next iteration of its “Power of She” campaign (the original launched in April). In addition to showing off new products, the Gap Inc.-owned athletic wear brand aims to support women’s empowerment and collaboration. Fortune

• Rousey’s TKO. After more than a year away from fighting, Ronda Rousey returned to the octagon last week. She lost the match to opponent Amanda Nunes in a mere 48 seconds, prompting speculation that Rousey will retire from MMA fighting altogether. Washington Post

Siri, what’s sexism? When writer Jacqueline Feldman was tasked with creating a “personality” for a chatbot, she realized that “the method for insuring that a technology speaks without giving offense has been to make it a woman.” The flipside? “By creating interactions that encourage consumers to understand the objects that serve them as women, technologists abet the prejudice by which women are considered objects.” New Yorker

Engelbert’s everything. In this latest episode of Fortune Unfiltered, Fortune‘s podcast series, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert explains how she manages to “have it all”: by defining what “all” is for herself. Once she did that, she says she was able to do all the little things that mattered to her—such as coaching her daughter’s basketball team and being there for her games. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Twitter China chief Kathy Chen is leaving the company.


Each week, Fortune asks our Insider Network — an online community of prominent people in business and beyond — for career and leadership advice. Here’s some of the best of what we heard last week.

It STEMs from confidence. Colleen Smith, vice president and general manager of OpenEdge at Progress, says that confidence is the ultimate differentiator between women who fully pursue a career in STEM and those who remove themselves from the STEM pipeline. Fortune

From “no” to “next.” Sarah Kauss, founder and CEO of S’well, says that instead of just saying “no” to a customer’s request when you’re too busy, you should pass it along to someone else on your team. Fortune


• Ellen’s next act. Ellen Kullman, the former CEO of chemicals giant DuPont—and a mainstay on Fortune‘s list of Most Powerful Women—is becoming co-chair of Paradigm for Parity, a coalition of CEOs and founders who are coming together to push for gender equality at the top of major corporations by 2030. Fortune

• The Thatcher files. Previously secret papers about Margaret Thatcher’s resignation from the British premiership published by the National Archives last week cast new light on her relationship with Ronald Reagan, the depth of divisions within her government, and her passion for single-sex education. Bloomberg

• Transitioning to equality? While we were on vacation, Trump’s transition team has been digging for information about White House gender equality initiatives. The team told Fortune that the future commander-in-chief will “ensure the rights of women across the world are valued and protected.”  Fortune

• Crime scenes to Curls. Here’s how Mahisha Dellinger, chief executive of hair care product maker Curls, got out of the gang and drug-filled neighborhood she grew up in and became the CEO of her own company. New York Times

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Most low-wage workers are women, study finds Fortune

16,000 women reflect on their surnames New York Times

A year ago I had a baby. So did my wife.  New York Magazine

What Trump taught America about sexual assault  Slate


If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.
Actress Carrie Fisher, who passed away last month at the age of 60.