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The Broadsheet: July 19th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A Saudi woman is arrested for wearing a mini skirt, Britain is cracking down on sexist ads, and Brainstorm Tech launches into its final day. Have a gorgeous Wednesday.


• Checking in on Colo. Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference is headed into its final day today in Aspen. A few highlights from what we’ve seen so far:

Instagram COO Marne Levine answered a question we’ve all been wondering about: How is Instagram Stories different from Snapchat? While acknowledging that Instagram didn’t create the disappearing photo and video feature, Levine told the Brainstorm crowd that her company improved on it by giving users access to all their favorite things in a single place.

Modern freight trains are a bit like 440 million pound computers, Jamie Miller, CEO of General Electric’s $5 billion transportation business, told the audience. And while that might seem like a death knell for heavy industry jobs, not so fast: “If you understand physics of how a locomotive works, that knowledge is irreplaceable,” she said. “If you’re an industrial person with a digital capability you can transform an industry and yourself. It is hard for a digital person to become industrial.”

Meanwhile, Margo Georgiadis, who stepped into the CEO role at toymaker Mattel six months ago, talked about her plans for winning over the next generation of kids—”a generation that has grown up expecting the world to be immersive, adaptable, and increasing customized.” In her view, the key is to combine tech and toys in ways that are actually engaging. “If you don’t integrate the technology in a way that’s actually fun, the kids don’t stay with the play pattern,” she said.

But for me, perhaps the most interesting event yet was the town hall on improving diversity in tech—a discussion that got quite heated at times. One key takeaway: Niniane Wang, one of three women who publicly accused then-Binary Capital partner Justin Caldbeck of sexual harassment, talked about the largely unseen work that she put in to provide support for her allegations. “I did 100 hours of work before and after the article,” she said—work that included gathering evidence, creating a timeline, contacting the firm’s limited partners, and encouraging other women to go on the record about their experiences with Caldbeck. Given how easily such charges are often dismissed, Wang knew she needed to have the receipts.

Then there was the moment when Jonathan Sposato, the chairman of PicMonkey and an angel investor, suggested that one of the factors driving tech’s gender problem is that “women don’t always support each other.” OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles responded…colorfully, called that theory “bullshit.”

“In Silicon Valley today there is a sisterhood of women who are supporting each other, telling each other about board opportunities, giving each other business ideas,” she continued. Quarles, who is in her 40s, said she sees this support system within her own generation and believes its ties are only growing stronger. “What you see from the millennial population is the most exciting of all,” she said, choking up. “I’m seeing these young women come up, rise up.”


• Outrage over an outfit. A woman wearing a miniskirt and crop top in a video posted online has been arrested by Saudi police. Identified only as Khulood, the woman appears to have violated Saudi Arabia’s strict dress code in the clip, which was widely shared on social media. Apparently she was visiting ruins in the conservative province of Najd with a male relative and was unaware the video had been posted online. Fortune

• This watchdog has teeth. The Advertising Standards Agency, Britain’s advertising watchdog, has announced that it will ban sexist ads, such as spots that depict women as solely responsible for cleaning or ones that show men as clumsy parents. The new policy has teeth; the ASA has a history of blocking ads for over-airbrushing and for featuring models who it’s dubbed too thin. Fortune

• Get ready to run. She Should Run, the nonpartisan organization that recruits women to run for political office, says that, as of July, more than 11,000 women have signed up for its online incubator program and are actively planning to run. Now the company has announced its 250kby2030 campaign, which aims to achieve gender parity in politics by 2030.  The Cut

• Double trouble. Larissa Waters, the Australian senator who became the first woman to breastfeed in the country’s parliament, has resigned after discovering that she has dual citizenship in both Australia and Canada; it’s a breach of Australia’s constitution for sitting senators to have duel citizenship. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rachel Whetstone, who recently left her job as top public relations and policy exec at Uber, is joining the communications team at Facebook in a newly created role as VP of comms of its WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger products. Apple engineering leader Isabel Ge Mahe will be moving to Shanghai to take on a new role as the company’s VP and managing director of the Greater China region.


• Literary lucre. On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, the Bank of England revealed a new £10 note featuring her image. When the notes are put into circulation this September, Austen will become the second women currently featured on England and Wales’ currency, joining Queen Elizabeth II. Fortune

• Robo heroes. The Afghan all-girls robotics team, who almost didn’t attend after having their visa denied twice, made it to D.C. and have emerged as the stars of the First Global, the international robotics competition. New York Times

• When Felicity met RBG. Felicity Jones will star as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the biopic On the Basis of Sex, which shoots in Montreal starting September. Variety

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An Audi commercial in China compared women to used cars  Washington Post

Girls become Serena, Hillary and Leia in Goldieblox’s in-your-face ad Ad Age

Where’s Rey? Despite uproar, Hasbro makes her Monopoly game piece hard to find  New York Times

Workers’ trash-talk goes down when leadership diversity goes up  Bloomberg


Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.
Nelson Mandela, whose legacy was celebrated yesterday with Mandela Day