The Broadsheet: February 1st

February 1, 2017, 12:55 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Two of President Trump’s female cabinet members get the thumbs up from Congress, Oprah announces her return to network TV, and women are gaining ground in the workforce—for now. Have a good Wednesday.


 Equal work? First the good news: New data from the Pew Research Center finds that the share of women in the workforce has grown dramatically in recent decades and is expected to hit 47.1% in 2025. And now the bad: At that point, the researchers expect the trend to reverse, with women dropping to 46.3% of workers by 2060.

What's driving that decline? Aging and retirement are expected to play a part, but there are other factors at work as well. For one, mothers with young children—especially moms with less education—are becoming less likely to work. The costs of childcare may be one reason for this decline, though some sociologists attribute it to what they describe as a reversion to traditional gender roles. On a more hopeful note, an increasing number of single women are withdrawing from the labor force in favor of attending school.

Regardless of the causes, the upshot is clear: If current trends continue, not only will women fail to reach equality in the workplace—we'll actually lose ground. That's bad news for women, of course, but also for our economy, which benefits from a larger, more diverse workforce. Fortune


 Gorsuch gets the nod. President Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, to fill the Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. A favorite of the conservative legal establishment, Gorsuch has not ruled on abortion cases, but most court watchers expect him to—at the very least—uphold restrictions on the procedure. Interesting note: Gorsuch is the son of Anne Gorsuch Burford, the controversial first female head of the EPA.  New York Times

 Filling the cabinet. The women of Donald Trump's cabinet made major progress yesterday. The Senate voted to confirm Elaine Chao as secretary of labor and Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration. Secretary of education pick Betsy DeVos, meanwhile, was approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions by a 12-to-11 vote. Pundits expect that she will ultimately get the nod from the full body, though some Republicans—such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski—say they're not yet committed to voting for her.

 She's baaaack! Oprah Winfrey will return to a major network this year, joining CBS' 60 Minutes as a special contributor in the fall. Fortune

 Islands full of women. As women continue to be significantly outnumbered in the U.S. government, consider what's happening in Turks & Caicos. The tiny British territory recently elected its first female premier, and women also hold the titles of deputy governor, attorney general, chief justice, chief magistrate, director of public prosecutions and five of the seven permanent secretaries.  BBC

 Conway does Cosmo. Fortune's Mathew Ingram looks at how Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway is using her frequent media appearances to, well, attack the media. And for more on the pollster-turned-spin doctor, check out this engrossing Cosmo profile, in which Conway describes fending of sexism and sexual harassment in her earlier days and building her career "in the midst of the patriarchy." 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dawn Fitzpatrick, currently a senior UBS executive, will become chief investment officer of Soros Fund Management.


 Gillibrand stays on brand. New York Magazine's Rebecca Traister notes that female politicians are emerging as some of the most vocal opponents of President Trump. New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, for one, is the only senator to so far vote no on all but one of Trump’s picks (she voted for Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador). New York Magazine

 Inside O'Hare. Abir Hemaidan, a Syrian national and U.S. green-card holder who has lived in the U.S. for the last five years and runs a medical office in Florida, talks about what happened when she was detained at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport this weekend.  WSJ

Promoting paid leave. In March of last year, Etsy implemented a new policy that provides 26 weeks of paid leave to all employees over the two years after a birth or adoption. Since putting that policy into effect, 48 employees that have taken leave (half were men and the other half were women). A third of these workers have since been promoted—a number that's significant because mothers who take time off are often concerned about consequences such as lower pay, worse assignments, or fewer opportunities for promotion. Fortune

 Head to the shed. You know about man caves. Now it appears that some women are building the feminine version. Meet the "she shed": WSJ

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Theresa May can't count on Donald Trump to save Britain  Fortune

Boy Scouts of America announces that it will accept transgender members  Fortune

How fat-shaming can be bad for your health  Refinery29

How Taylor Swift played the victim for a decade and made her entire career  Buzzfeed


Women are in my grill no matter where I go.
Sen. Dave Brat (R-Va.), on hearing from women who are opposed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act