Good morning, Broadsheet readers! South Korea’s president is officially out, Melania Trump’s popularity is on the rise, and Gloria Steinem refuses to be bummed out by Trump. A quick scheduling note: I’ll be at SXSW on Monday to moderate a panel focused on female investors investing in women. Stop by and say hi if you’ll be in Austin! In the meantime, have a relaxing weekend.
• Gabbing with Gloria. I had the privilege of spending yesterday evening with Gloria Steinem and about two-dozen powerful female community leaders in New York City. The intimate event was a fundraiser for non-profit Girls Leadership and was hosted in the home of philanthropist Janet Montag.
Cocktail hour conversation focused primarily on feminism in the Trump era: How do we move forward? How do we keep women engaged? And, in particular, how do we make sure every woman—no matter her race—feels included? The exasperation in the room was palpable, with much of the dialogue centering on the fact (still mind-boggling to many) that the majority of white women voted for President Trump. Here are a few highlights from what Steinem had to say on the matter:
“Disproportionately, African American women invented feminism, and if you call it a white movement, you’ve eradicated…hundreds and hundreds of people who I learned from, who were my teachers.”
“There is no such thing as white feminism. If you call it white, it’s not feminism. It either includes all women, or it’s not feminism.”
“Here’s my way of explaining what happened: In China, they did not bind the feet of poor women. They bound the feet of rich women, because those women are the means of production of the ruling class. [Similarly,] white married women in our culture are more likely to have our minds bound, so to speak, because we’re more likely to be dependent on a man’s social identity.”
At dinnertime, the conversation moved away from politics and onto what Girls Leadership is all about: making sure young girls today get the mentorship they need now to become leaders later on. The non-profit’s co-founder Rachel Simmons pointed out: “Everywhere I am today, I am there because of an older woman.”
Steinem, who largely grew up taking care of her mother instead of vice versa, pointed out that oftentimes, a mentor doesn’t come in the form of a family member—or even in the form of a real person. “Looking back, I think I found [guidance] from books,” she told us. “I think I found it in Louisa May Alcott. Little Women was a world in which women talked about everything.”
The single most inspiring moment of the night, however, came at the very end of the evening, with Steinem reminding the room that feminism doesn’t always need to be about “difficult conversations.”
“Now, I’m not saying that they’re not difficult, but I think we should also capture the joy of it because it’s not just about difficulty. You get to hear different jokes and [have] different experiences and food and, I don’t know, you get to love each other.”
So, a message from Gloria and me for this weekend and every day: have fun. It’ll make you a better feminist.
— Valentina (@valzarya)
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Park’s final fate. South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye was ejected from office by the country’s Constitutional Court Friday, following her impeachment over accusations that she helped a friend win bribes from Samsung and other South Korean conglomerates. Park was the first woman to be elected president of the country and was the first woman elected as head of state in East Asia. WSJ
• She’s not that unique. A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that Park’s four-year tenure isn’t all that short for a female leader. In 31 of 146 countries that have ever had a female head of state, women were in power for five years or less, while in 13 they stayed in power for a year or less. There are currently just 15 female world leaders. Fortune
• An appointment analysis. As for the U.S. specifically, a Bloomberg analysis of government records finds that women have been named to 27% of the appointed roles filled by President Donald Trump so far. The most gender skewed departments are Commerce, Treasury, and Energy—where fewer than 15% of the appointees were women, while the highest ratios of female appointees—about half—are in the State Department and Health and Human Services. Bloomberg
• Marine scandal expands. According to Business Insider, the Marine Corps’ nude photo-sharing scandal is ever more far-reaching—and horrifying—that originally reported. The publication writes: “Hundreds of nude photos of female service members from every military branch have been posted to an image-sharing message board that dates back to at least May 2016.” The site, called AnonIB, includes a dedicated board for military personnel where men apparently ask for photos of female service members—sometimes identifying them by name or station. Business Insider
• Model first lady? More than half of Americans (52%) now say they view Melania Trump favorably, up from the 36% recorded days before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. That trumps her husband’s score—45%—according to the CNN/ORC poll. Fortune
• Strokes on the strike. On this week’s Broad Strokes, Val and I talk about the women’s strike, Emma Watson’s Vanity Fair photo, and what all employers can learn from the class action case against Sterling Jewelers. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Susan Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, has joined American University as a distinguished visiting research fellow in the School of International Service. Chloé has named Natacha Ramsay-Levi as its creative director.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The pinking of America. While men have traditionally been slow to take “pink collar” jobs, that appears to be changing. New research reveals that over the last 15 years, men have been as likely to move into female-dominated jobs as the other way around. However, it’s worth noting that those workers tend to be “already disadvantaged in the labor market: black, Hispanic, less educated, poor and immigrant men.” New York Times
• Settling up. 21st Century Fox has reportedly settled with yet another former Fox News employee: contributor Tamara Holder, who reported that she was sexually assaulted by an executive at company headquarters two years ago. The New York Times reports that the settlement is worth more than $2.5 million. New York Times
• Buying Ivanka. While online sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise dropped 26% in January of this year compared to January 2016, the trend seems to have reversed—dramatically. According to Slice Intelligence, online sales of the first daughter’s brand more than doubled last month. CNBC
• Girl Starter gets started. In April, TLC will debut Girl Starter, a reality competition series focused on a group of young women looking to launch their own businesses. Co-creator Jeannine Shao Collins says the show will be the centerpiece of a new media venture aimed at empowering young female entrepreneurs and those interested in supporting them. WSJ
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ON MY RADAR
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