Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Some investors are less than impressed with Uber’s sexism investigation, banks are putting more women on their boards, and Kellyanne Conway is back—with a vengeance. Have a relaxing weekend.
• Don’t call it a comeback. After a week or so out of the spotlight—or at least off of the air—Kellyanne Conway is back with a vengeance.
She appeared on Fox News Wednesday night, where she refuted reports that the White House had temporarily banned from her from going on TV after she made statements that deviated from the administration’s official stance. The real issue, says Conway, was that she’d been busy “out with four kids for three days looking at houses and schools,” adding: “A lot of my colleagues aren’t trying to figure out how to be a mother of four kids, I assure you.”
As noted by Fortune’s Claire Zillman, it was an interesting call-back to comments she made last year when she suggested that she might turn down a senior White House role because it would be incompatible with caring for her family. Of course, she did ultimately end up taking a big job—counselor to the president—that makes her arguably the most powerful woman in the White House.
Yesterday, Conway referenced that power on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). She criticized participants in the January Women’s March on Washington, saying, “It turns out that a lot of women just have a problem with women in power. This whole ‘sisterhood,’ this whole ‘let’s go march for women’s rights,’ just constantly talking about what women look like or what they wear or making fun of their choices or presuming that they’re not as powerful as the men around.” (Read the full text of her remarks here.)
While Conway rejects the feminist label—telling the CPAC crowd that it’s “very anti-male”—she doesn’t shy away from talking about the particular difficulties that women face in the workforce. Her male colleagues in the administration do think about issues like work-life balance, she says, but “there is a different a set of considerations for women, and you have to put yourself last.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• DeVos is defiant. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also appeared at CPAC, where she told the crowd that she intends to forge ahead with her approach to overhauling U.S. schools—and took a swipe at critics who have called her ill-prepared. “My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media or the education establishment here in Washington,” said DeVos. “My job as secretary of education is to make education work for students.” Washington Post
• Nasty Gal’s fall from grace. In less than a decade, Sophia Amoruso transformed an eBay vintage store into Nasty Gal, a company that generated $85 million in revenue in 2014. Yet the success story turned sour last November with the company filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now, Amoruso is preparing to sell the Nasty Gal brand name and other intellectual property for $20 million to a rival U.K. fashion site Boohoo.com. Here’s what went wrong, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation: WSJ
• Dear Travis letter. Kapor Capital partners and early Uber investors Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor have posted an open letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in the wake of former employee Susan Fowler’s allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the company. The pair ask “what explains the silence of Uber’s investors” and expresses dismay that the company “selected a team of insiders to investigate its destructive culture and make recommendations for change.” Meanwhile, Ellen Pao, who is also a venture partner at Kapor Capital, wrote a separate op-ed saying that the Uber accusations are symptomatic of a larger issue in the technology industry. “Still, the fact that tech is this broken doesn’t give any company a free pass,” writes Pao. “We see you, Uber.”
• Social butterflies. A new Burson-Marsteller study of business leaders on social media finds that Honest Co. founder Jessica Alba, Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are among the most followed leaders on Facebook and Instagram. One particularly interesting nugget from the analysis: Stephanie Newby, CEO of social media analytics company Crimson Hexagon, is cited as the third most “effective” business person (meaning highest interaction rates) on Facebook. Burson-Marsteller
• From micro-loans to macro-investments. Tala, a startup that makes micro-loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world via smartphone app, has raised a $30 million Series B round as it expands into new geographical markets. The company, which is led by founder and CEO Shivani Siroya—one of Fortune‘s 40 Under 40 “female execs on the rise”—has raised a total of more than $44 million since 2012. Forbes
• Talking it out. On this week’s Broad Strokes, Val and Fortune editor Anne VanderMey discuss Uber’s alleged women problem, Milo Yiannopoulos’s exit from Breitbart, and research finding that women get dinged for using flextime. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Professor Heather Gerken has been selected as the next Dean of Yale Law School. Graham-Pelton Consulting has appointed its current president, Elizabeth Zeigler, to CEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• In the system. Square CFO Sarah Friar spoke out against sexism in tech on CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia, saying it’s “absolutely a systemic problem.” But it’s not just technology, said Friar, who worked at Goldman Sachs for a decade: “It’s systemic across multiple industries and I think we all have to admit that there’s a problem and that will be the beginning of planning a solution.” Motto
• Bank on it. An interesting takeaway from PwC’s latest study of board diversity: In 2016, women accounted for 26% of boards in banking and capital markets. That’s better than the average rate of women on boards in the S&P (21%) and tied with retail for the industry with the highest scores. New York Times
• Glass houses? In this op-ed, Anita Hill and Kalpana Kotagal, Hill’s colleague at the Civil Rights and Employment practice of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, note that the film industry is well positioned to speak out in support of women’s rights—particularly at this weekend’s Oscars—but first, “to be fully credible…Hollywood must get its own house in order.” Variety
• Chelsea hits the books. Chelsea Clinton talks literature with the New York Times Book Review. Among the writers she shouts out: Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood, Elena Ferrante, and Marilynne Robinson. New York Times
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