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The Broadsheet: April 4th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The lawsuits keep coming at Fox News, women are making very, very slow progress in VC firms, and it’s Equal Pay Day—have you asked for a raise lately? Maybe today’s the day.


• Money changes everything. Today is Equal Pay Day—a “holiday” that marks how far into 2017 women must work in order to make as much as men did in 2016. A small mercy: The occasion moved up by eight days this year, marking a slight narrowing of the gender pay gap. According to the latest BLS data, women in full-time jobs now make 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The gender wage gap is a painfully simple concept, but its causes—and how it plays out in the lives of different women—is actually quite complex. Here are a few aspects of the gap to consider:

It’s far wider for women of color. As my colleague Ellen McGirt points out in her must-read newsletter RaceAhead (check it out here), African American women earn about 63% of what their white male counterparts take home, meaning they won’t hit their equal pay date until August. Latinas won’t catch up until October.

The causes are myriad—and stubbornly difficult to change. Olivia Mitchell, the director of the pension research council at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, points to three particularly tricky issues—the “motherhood penalty,” gender differences in how salary negotiations play out, and straight up employer bias—but, really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Where you live matters. Local laws and economic factors also play an important role in the size of the gap. For more on how that plays out—and how your state ranks—check out our interactive map of the gender wage gap across the U.S.


• They got served. Never a dull moment for the Fox News legal team. Over the weekend, a New York Times investigation revealed that Fox News paid millions to five women in exchange for their agreement not to sue the company over sexual assault allegations against host Bill O’Reilly. Now, Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky is suing the network—as well as former chairman Rogers Ailes and president Bill Shine, alleging that she was “unlawfully harassed, discriminated against, and retaliated against.” For those keeping score at home, Roginsky is the eleventh woman to accuse Ailes or O’Reilly of harassment.  Fortune

• Rice’s requests. Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake reports that former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of people who appeared in raw intelligence reports related to the Donald Trump transition and campaign. (The requests were made for individuals who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally.) Lake notes that Rices’ requests “do not vindicate Trump’s own tweets…in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower,” but that they do “highlight a longstanding concern for civil liberties advocates about U.S. surveillance programs.” Bloomberg

• Piddly progress. Axios’s Dan Primack crunches the numbers on women in the venture capital industry, finding that only 7% of decision-makers at U.S. VC firms are women. (Up from 5.7%, according to a 2016 Fortune analysis). The publication also concludes that “women effectively control just 4.7% of all venture dollars raised in the past five years by U.S.-based firms.” Axios

• A different kind of pay gap. Oprah Winfrey received $264,753 for serving on the Weight Watchers board last year—more than twice as much as the next highest-paid director. Yet, she wasn’t exactly hands-on: Winfrey skipped several board gatherings and did not attend the company’s annual meeting. Bloomberg

• Catching up with Koplovitz. This week’s Fortune Unfiltered podcast features Kay Koplovitz, founder of the USA Network and now managing partner of Springboard Growth Capital.  Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jenna Lyons, J.Crew’s executive creative director, is leaving the company. CNN has signed American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan as a political analyst. Slack security manager Leigh Honeywell is leaving the workplace communications company for a year-long technology fellowship with the American Civil Liberties Union. Former Twitter comms exec Carolyn Penner is joining the communications team at Dyson.


• The competence curse? The Paula Principle, a new book by Tom Schuller, argues that most women work in jobs that are below their competency level. This Quartz piece lays out Schuller’s theory of why this happens—and suggests ways employers can help female employees reach jobs that match their skills. Quartz

Trolls get new prof pics. Twitter has changed its default avatar from an egg to a silhouette. In a post accompanying the change, the social network said that since abusive accounts often have the egg as a profile picture, there is now “an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior.” Whether the change will curb trolling remains to be seen. As TechCrunch‘s Fitz Tepper notes, “An abusive tweet is an abusive tweet, whether it’s next to an egg, a silhouette or a real person’s avatar.” TechCrunch

• Telling tales out of school. The University of Pennsylvania’s campus newspaper  The Daily Pennsylvanian talked to more than 600 of Ivanka Trump’s former Wharton classmates (Class of 2004) about their impressions of the first daughter during her school days. The Daily Pennsylvanian

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The White House has unveiled the first official portrait of First Lady Melania Trump  Fortune

This suffragette is finally getting a statue in London’s Parliament Square  Fortune

David Schwimmer launches new campaign to fight sexual harassment  Cosmopolitan

How women over 50 can keep their careers on track   New York Times


Let’s turn Equal Pay Day into Equal Ask Day and keep on asking until we get what we deserve. After all, asking is the best, most effective, way to get what you want.
Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead