Skip to Content

The Broadsheet: May 18th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emmanuel Macron appoints a gender-balanced cabinet, CBS gets called on the carpet for its male-heavy new lineup, and Swedish researchers reveal that words can in fact hurt you. Have a lovely Thursday.


• Talk is cheap? In this fascinating report, a group of researchers analyze the language used to discuss entrepreneurs in government venture capital decision-making meetings in Sweden—a nation where women get just 13% to 18% of such funding. They found that the language used to describe male and female entrepreneurs was radically different—and not in women’s favor. For instance, the VCs tended to describe young male entrepreneurs as “promising,” whereas young female founders were considered “inexperienced.” Male entrepreneurs might be characterized as “cautious, sensible, and level-headed,” while women got “too cautious and does not dare.”

In light of these conversations, the funding results are predictable: Women were more likely to get less money than they requested (25% of what they asked for to men’s 52%) and more likely to be rejected altogether (53% vs 38%).

Our ability to generalize from this study, which was based in Sweden and focused on a very specific type of VC, has its limits, of course. But given that the gender funding gap is even more pronounced in the U.S., where women-led companies got just over 2% of VC dollars last year, the implications of this research should not be ignored. While an investor’s choice of adjective may seem like a small thing, the implicit bias it reveals—and the power of language to spread that bias—can have stark consequences in the lives of female entrepreneurs.  Harvard Business Review


• Bravo, Macron! Half of French President Emmanuel Macron’s new 22-person cabinet is female. Among the new appointees: Sylvie Goulard, a French politician, as defense minister, and Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel as sports minister. The news comes after Macron’s party, La Republique En Marche, announced that it has selected 214 men and 214 women to run in the June legislative elections. Fortune

• Change the channel. A year after coming under fire for its male-dominated 2016 lineup, CBS is hearing the same critiques for its new slate. CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves defended the network, saying it has a higher percentage of female viewers than its competition. The Hollywood Reporter

• People problems. Ivanka Trump hosted a bipartisan meeting on human trafficking at the White House yesterday. Meanwhile, nonprofit China Labor Watch is accusing the first daughter’s clothing brand of relying on Chinese factories that it says force some employees to work long shifts at the equivalent of about a dollar an hour.

• Not so lovely news.  Loverly, the wedding planning startup led by CEO Kellee Khalil, is undergoing a restructuring and has laid off all but two of its employees. Fortune


• Doing it for themselves. Forbes‘s list of the 60 richest self-made women in America is out. While it includes some familiar names (Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, Vera Wang), I bet readers will also learn the stories of a few successful women they’ve never heard of before. Forbes

• A sad 6%. A new report looking at the gap between the benefits that companies offer their corporate workers and what they provide to hourly or low-wage workers (think store associates or warehouse employees), finds that only 6% of low-wage workers at 35 major corporations have any access to paid leave.   New York Magazine

• Constand takes the stand. While more than 40 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, only Andrea Constand’s complaint resulted in criminal charges. And when Cosby’s trial begins next month, the task of convincing the jury that he’s a sexual predator will fall to Constand, who met the comedian when she was working as director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team. New York Times

• Bottling success? Despite the social media blowback over Dove’s “body-shaped” body wash bottles, a new poll finds that the majority of people still have a positive view of the brand—and 41% of those surveyed said the bottles actually made them more favorably disposed toward it. Fortune

Share today’s Broadsheet with a friend:

Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Sally Yates disagrees with the Trump White House on these 10 points Fortune

My family’s slave  The Atlantic

Sexual harassment and the music business: The song remains the same  Variety

Katy Perry to judge ABC’s revival of American Idol  New York Times


Everyone asks me what I miss the most, and it’s the chef—who happens to be a woman.
Former First Lady Laura Bush, who was honored at the Women Making History Awards, sponsored by the National Women’s History Museum, on Tuesday