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Al Franken, Stitch Fix IPO, Marrying Up: Broadsheet for Nov. 17

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sexual misconduct allegations emerge against Al Franken, Katrina Lake’s Stitch Fix goes public, and Louise Linton makes (more) enemies online. Have a relaxing weekend.


Hire to fight harassment. Renowned sociologists Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev—who are experts on workplace culture and corporate diversity programs, including reasons why they fail—share their take on the current hot topic: sexual harassment in the workplace. In Harvard Business Reviewthey pen an article that is pretty well summarized by its headline: “Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will.”

The crux of their argument is that harassment flourishes in workplaces where men dominate in management and women have little power. Meanwhile, in industries and workplaces where women are well represented in “core jobs,” (e.g. engineers in tech companies) harassment is significantly less likely to occur.

Yet hiring more women into core jobs and management roles isn’t an easy feat (as any regular reader of this newsletter knows). Furthermore, women tend to leave workplaces where sexual harassment is common—thus initiating a vicious cycle.

Instead, many companies opt for what Dobbin and Kalev call “cosmetic fixes”: anti-harassment training programs and systems to handle internal complaints.

“Most have installed training and grievance procedures and called it a day. They’re satisfied as long as the courts are. They don’t bother to ask themselves whether the programs work.”

The authors’ research suggests that the programs do work—but only for white women. They hypothesize that’s because “[white women] are better protected from retaliation because, on average, they are in more senior roles.” But overall, “women who file harassment complaints end up more likely to leave their jobs either involuntarily or of their own accord—and others may follow them when they see complaints badly handled, with the harassers still in their jobs.”


Another un-funny comedian. Leeann Tweeden, a model, sportscaster, and radio host, dropped a bombshell blog post yesterday in which she accused comedian-turned-Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing her and then groping her as she slept. Franken said he didn’t recall the kissing incident during a USO Tour, though he apologized to Tweeden and “to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women.” He also said he feels “disgusted” about a photo Tweeden published that shows her sleeping, with Franken grabbing at her breasts.  Fortune

Throwing stones. President Donald Trump tweeted about the Franken scandal late last night, calling his longtime critic “Al Frankenstien” [sic] and saying the groping photo “is really bad, speaks a thousand words.” Trump, of course, has been dogged by sexual misconduct allegations himself.  Washington Post

• Sizing down. Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake is the only woman to lead a tech IPO this year as shares of the online stylist debut today. The offering was seen as a test for other digital-first retailers, and, as Fortune‘s David Meyer reports, it was smaller than expected, raising $120 million at a share price of $15; the original guidance range was $18-$20. Fortune

A for fertility benefits. FertilityIQ, a review platform of fertility clinics, published an analysis of IVF benefits at 250 large or high-profile employers. At the top of the list: consulting powerhouses (Bain, BCG), financial institutions (Bank of America, KKR), and tech firms (Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify, LinkedIn, Google).  New York Times

Men marrying up. A new study in the journal Demography found that “women’s personal earnings have grown faster than men’s earnings” between 1990 and 2011 and that, as a result, the number of highly educated women actually “exceeds the number of highly educated men in the marriage market.” What this means, in practice, is that women are now more likely than before to marry less educated men. Vogue

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Apple’s diversity chief Denise Young Smith is leaving the country after just six months in the job. She’ll be replaced by Christie Smith, a longtime Deloitte HR exec.


No love for Linton. Is Louise Linton trying to make enemies on social media? Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s wife posted a photo of herself with a sheet of money, prompting comparisons to just about every evil villain in pop culture. Back in September, Linton was in hot water for an Instagram post in which she tagged a bunch of designers in an image of her stepping off a government plane (which she and Mnuchin used for their honeymoon). Guardian

Radical Women. NYMag has the quirky story of New York Radical Women, “a small gang of women” that began meeting regularly in cramped apartments across the Lower East Side in 1967. As the magazine notes, NYRW “arose out of a savagely polarized political moment, much like our current one, in which the frustrations and injustices of life as a woman suddenly exploded into eloquent rage.” New York Magazine

Sarah’s side-hustles. Pando founder Sarah Lacy has been busy with projects beyond her tech blog. She’s poured more time into Chairman Mom, a new site geared toward a working mother audience. She’s also recently released a new book called The Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug. (Interesting note: Lacy says Facebook rejected ads for the book because of the word “uterus.”) Recode

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Former Israeli actress alleged to be operative for intelligence firm  Wall Street Journal

A transgender woman is being held in an all-male prison. She’s suing to be transferred Time

Empowering women in the economy would boost growth, Citi says  Bloomberg

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is on a mission to get more women on company boards Motto


Each community has to kick out their own creeps.
'Full Frontal' host Samantha Bee, referring to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment