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The Broadsheet: March 24th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Val reports on an NYC initiative to provide more support to female entrepreneurs, Elizabeth Holmes appears poised to give up majority ownership of Theranos, and the GOP health care bill would mean big, big changes in women’s health coverage. Have a relaxing weekend.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• Serving small businesses. On Thursday, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of female small business owners during an event marking the launch of New York City’s new Contract Financing Loan Fund, which allows minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) to apply for loans of up to half a million dollars at a maximum interest rate of 3%. The new fund is one of the ways the city is planning to meet its goal of awarding 30% of city contracts to minorities and women by 2021.

In order to be considered for contracts, M/WBEs must be certified by the city. That process can seem like a black box for entrepreneurs—particularly first-timers or sole proprietors (90% of whom are women). The women speaking on the panel, all of whom are currently certified and work in both the public and private sectors, had a few words of advice:

  1. Certification is key. While the panel focused on New York City, there are city, state, and federal certifications that women can apply for. And it’s not just about directly bidding on government contracts. You never know when a client of yours will go after a public project—and when they do, they’ll want to sub-contract with an M/WBE. As for the process itself? Think of it the way you think about doing taxes: Once your paperwork is together, it’s just filling in boxes.
  2. Don’t go it alone. Because so many women are sole proprietors (and typically have fewer employees than men) they have a tendency to pass on opportunities that seem too daunting. Instead, panelists recommended finding other women to partner with—whether that means dividing and conquering large projects or bartering services.
  3. Hustle hard. A certification is certainly helpful (one panelist called it a “golden ticket”), but it alone will not win you a clientele. The only way to go about that is by putting yourself out there and going to industry events and meet-ups of all sizes. To paraphrase one panelist, you’re the one thing you’ve got—so use you.

— Valentina (@valzarya)

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• Deal or no deal? After President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus members failed to strike a deal on the GOP health care bill yesterday, House leaders canceled a planned Thursday night vote on the legislation. In an 11th hour attempt to woo the conservative group, Trump agreed to repeal the Obamacare mandate that insurance plans provide a minimum level of “essential” benefits—a list that includes maternity care and contraception. The president then issued an ultimatum to his party: Pass the bill today or see the opportunity to repeal the ACA vanish. New York Times

• From infant to interview. In more heath care bill news, an amendment added earlier this week is getting some (largely negative) attention for a provision that would affect new moms receiving Medicaid. The change would allow states to require mothers to get a job within 60 days of giving birth—or lose their benefits. Fortune

• A bloodletting. Theranos plans to give additional shares to investors who pledge not to sue founder Elizabeth Holmes or her blood-testing company. The additional shares would reportedly come from Holmes’s personal stake in Theranos and would likely result in her relinquishing her majority ownership.  WSJ

• Looking at leave. New data from Pew finds that the vast majority of Americans believe that paid leave would help families (94%), but are torn about the government’s role in instituting such a policy. “Only half of people overall and one-third of Republicans think it should mandate leave, versus continuing to let employers decide. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats supported a government mandate,” reports the New York Times Claire Cain Miller. New York Times

• A broad interpretation. On this week’s Broad Strokes, Anne VanderMey and I talk about the drama at period underwear company Thinx, the research showing that women’s EQ skills can lead to better jobs, and what Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation would mean for women. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Plated has named Adrienne Gemperle chief people officer. She was previously SVP, Global HR operations at Starbucks. Cathy Graham, CFO of 2U, has joined the company’s board.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

• Chief executive Gooper. Looks like Gwyneth Paltrow has rethought her plans—announced last summer—to “step away” from Goop: The former actress is now the company’s CEO. Fortune

• Better late than never? Earlier this week, Nevada ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, which guarantees that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” becoming the first state to do so since 1977. For a refresher on “the long, twisted path” of the ERA, check out this NPR story on this history of the amendment: NPR

• Not funny. When asked if he supports Obamacare’s “essential health benefits,” which require insurers to cover basic services like maternity care and prescriptions, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) replied, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.” Not surprisingly, the snarky response didn’t go over well on Twitter, and Roberts quickly apologized. Huffington Post

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ON MY RADAR

The full trailer for Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale shows the rise of Margaret Atwood’s dystopia The Verge

An economist warns that the next generation of feminists are going to feel even more frustrated  Quartz

52 percent of men say they haven’t benefited from women having affordable birth control  Think Progress

What to know about about Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher’s public memorial this Saturday  People

QUOTE

For all the little girls in America, we as women need to start demanding that all politicians are respectful to women—at the very least.
Hawaii State Rep. Beth Fukumoto, who announced Wednesday that she would resign from the Republican Party