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Women’s Equality Day, Susan Fowler’s Day in Court, Girl Scouts Feud With Boy Scouts

August 25, 2017, 11:45 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here. GM CEO Mary Barra joins Disney’s board, HPE CEO Meg Whitman really, really doesn’t want to be Uber chief, and we answer all your questions about Women’s Equality Day. Enjoy the last weekend (!) of August.


 Tricks of the trade. On Wednesday, I wrote about an Atlantic interview with Kim Elsesser, a UCLA professor whose research focuses on the professional divide between men and women. She spoke at length about how difficult it can be for female professionals to build relationships with and get mentorship from senior male colleagues—and how detrimental that can be for their careers.

Because I wasn't quite satisfied with Elsesser's fix—formalized, in-company co-ed mentoring programs—I asked you, Broadsheet readers, for suggestions. Here are some common themes and highlights from what I heard:

Learn to love the double date

KP: I will occasionally ask to do double date activities with [senior] male colleagues. For instance, let's both bring our wife/ partner to the basketball game. Or ask them to attend work events with me so it feels like a team bonding experience that we are tackling an event together and checking in intermittently.

Be clear about why you're meeting 

AP: Interestingly, when I have been networking or job searching, it has been no issue to ask for a coffee or lunch meeting because a specific expectation was set - "to learn about x company" or "build a network." 

Befriend his significant other

JS: Most companies offer social gatherings where significant others are invited. Introduce yourself to his spouse or date and strike up a meaningful conversation. Then later share your positive thoughts about her with him.

Ask for explicit feedback

KC: Ask male colleagues to give you feedback after presentations or meetings. Helps set up an ongoing channel of feedback and it's usually males (sadly) who are in more senior meetings, so they'll have to be the ones to give feedback. The ongoing channel of feedback then can open up informal opportunities to network during the day.

Make your interactions family-friendly

JS: During lunches, side conversations or company outings, ask your male colleagues about their significant others and families. Not only are you getting to know him as a well-rounded individual, you are subtly reminding him that you know he has a significant other.

One final thought: While I'm focusing here on action items for women, there is, of course, a lot that men can (and should!) do to make life easier for their female colleagues. Perhaps we'll tackle that in a future column...


What makes a holiday? Tomorrow will—hopefully—be Women's Equality Day, which marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. I say hopefully because President Trump has yet to proclaim it a holiday, something every sitting president since Nixon has done. Here's Fortune's explainer on the history of the day and what sets it apart from other female-focused days like Equal Pay Day and International Women's Day. Fortune

Truth in Goop? Advertising watchdog group Truth in Advertising is calling for California regulators to investigate Goop. In its complaint letter, the organization called out the Gwyneth Paltrow-led lifestyle brand for false claims that its products "can treat, cure, prevent...a number of ailments, ranging from depression, anxiety, and insomnia, to infertility, uterine prolapse, and arthritis, just to name a few." Fortune

No means no. HPE CEO Meg Whitman really, really doesn't want to be Uber's next CEO. Despite reports that the embattled ride-hailing app is still trying to persuade her, Whitman says she's "not going anywhere." To help clarify, she quoted the 1992 Lorrie Morgan song: “What Part of No (Don’t You Understand)." WSJ

At least they're trying? Speaking of Uber trying to win over women, the ride-hailing app announced a multi-year partnership with Girls Who Code (GWC) on Thursday. As part of the deal, the company is donating $1.2 million to GWC over the next three years. The money will go towards growing more after-school and immersion programs for young girls to learn tech at an earlier age; GWC estimates that 60,000 more girls will gain access to these programs as a result of the deal. The Verge

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: General Motors CEO Mary Barra is joining Disney's board of directors. Uber’s chief branding officer Bozoma Saint John is joining Girls Who Code’s board of directors. Beth Steinberg is joining Zenefits as chief people officer.


Girls vs. Boys. Girl Scouts president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan is accusing the Boy Scouts of "surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls’ offering to millennial parents" and of making "disparaging and untrue remarks" about Girl Scout programming. In the letter, she argues that "single gender programming" is the best way to create a "safe place for girls to learn and thrive." (The latter statement is up for debate.) Fortune

 'We cool?' convos. In the aftermath of the Uber and Benchmark Capital sexual harassment scandals, female founders and male VCs are having more conversations about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior. One founder, Julie Fredrickson of Stowaway, says she has had a number of "we cool?" conversations recently: Men she worked with in the past have reached out to make sure she harbors no ill will against them. WSJ

A friend of the court. The legal team of Susan Fowler, the author of the now-famous blog post about sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Uber, has filed an amicus brief in three high court cases. Fowler's lawyers are asking justices to consider that class and collective action bans in workplace arbitration agreements violate federal labor laws. Many employment contracts (including Uber's) have clauses that prevent workers from banding together. The Recorder

Tips from Melinda. Melinda Gates pens an op-ed in The Washington Post about technology's effect on children. Despite having been a high-powered Microsoft executive, she admits that she worries that the Internet exacerbates "the difficulties of growing up." Here are her tips for other parents struggling to strike the right balance: Washington Post

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