Sheryl Sandberg, Billy Bush, Shervin Pishevar: Broadsheet for Dec. 4
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sheryl Sandberg and Sallie Krawcheck weigh in on the recent influx of sexual harassment news, poor girls are doing better in school than boys, and—surprise, surprise—more powerful men get accused of harassment. Have a productive Monday.
It’s the power, stupid. Two powerful women wrote editorials responding to the wave of sexual harassment allegations over the weekend. Interestingly, both of their takes focus on a single theme: power.
Sheryl Sandberg’s essay, which she posted on Facebook Sunday morning, begins: “The 1992 presidential race was once summed up in a pointed phrase: ‘It's the economy, stupid.’ Today, as headlines are dominated by stories about sexual harassment and sexual assault at work, a similar phrase comes to mind: ‘It's the power, stupid.’ The Facebook COO goes on to talk about how, when she experienced harassment, the perpetrator always had more power than she did. “That’s not a coincidence. It’s why they felt free to cross that line."
The New York Times, meanwhile, published an editorial by Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Smith Barney and of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and co-founder of robo-advisor startup Ellevest, on Saturday. Krawcheck writes that even when she moved up the corporate ladder, “and it felt a little less fraught to deal with the inevitable,” she still experienced unwanted advances—but was able to decline them. “I was able to say no to the senior government official who said, ‘How about we go up to my hotel room?’ before obscenely wagging his tongue at me in front of my colleagues. I could knock the portfolio manager’s hands off my leg without too much fear of retribution.”
Both women are advocating for the same solution to the on-going sexual harassment epidemic: get more women in power.
That, of course, is much easier said than done. The gender gap at the top of corporate America—just 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female—is the result of a confluence of sociocultural factors (women as primary caretakers, implicit biases against women leaders, lack of paid family leave, absence of role models, etc.) And yet, while it’s unlikely that we’ll solve all of those in the next decade, it is heartening to know that the few women who are at the top are pushing to get more of us up there with them.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Billy begs to differ. Billy Bush, the Access Hollywood host to whom President Trump was speaking in the now-infamous 2005 tapes in which he told a bus full of men to "grab 'em by the pussy," accuses the president—who has been suggesting that the voice on the tape is not his—of "indulging in some revisionist history." Bush goes on to explain that while he thought Trump was performing a "crass standup act" back then, he knows better know; "I believe her," he says of one of Trump's many accusers. New York Times
And in what's becoming a daily list of sexual harassment accusations against powerful men...
• Shervin Pishevar. Five women have accused venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar of sexual misconduct. Uber employees also tell Bloomberg that Pishevar, an early investor in the ride-hailing startup, made unwanted advances towards Austin Geidt, Uber's fourth employee and now head of operations for Uber’s autonomous driving unit. Pishevar "denied touching Geidt inappropriately then or making sexual advances toward her at other events." His spokespeople didn't comment on the other allegations, but said, "We are confident that these anecdotes will be shown to be untrue.” Bloomberg
• Vice’s vices. Vice Media fired three employees for “verbal and sexual harassment” and “other behavior that is inconsistent with our policies, our values, and the way in which we believe colleagues should work together,” the company’s new CHRO, Susan Tohyama, wrote in an internal memo Thursday. One of the three is Jason Mojica, head of Vice’s documentary films unit. (He said he was “deeply disappointed by this outcome.") New York Times
• Molto agitato at The Met. The Metropolitan Opera has suspended James Levine after three men came forward accusing him of sexual harassment (all of them were teens at the time). Levine had been the Met’s music director for four decades and is currently a conductor at the storied opera house. Rumors about him and sexual abuse have been circulating since 1979 and the allegations stretch back to 1969. "I don’t have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served,” Levine said back in 1987; his spokesman didn't comment on the suspension. New York Times
• Where your tax money goes. Citing people familiar with the matter, Politico reports that Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) used $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokeswoman. Lauren Greene sued the lawmaker in 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and creating a hostile work environment. Farenthold is the only known sitting member of Congress to have used a congressional account to pay an accuser. He did not confirm or deny Politico's report that his office was responsible for the payout. Politico
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Cynthia Collins, who was appointed CEO of genetics startup Human Longevity in January, is out after 11 months on the job.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Sorry-ish. New York Times journalists annotated the apologies—and non-apologies—issued by high-profile men accused of sexual misconduct. Gender editor Jessica Bennett writes about one portion of Harvey Weinstein’s statement: “These sound like the ramblings of your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner.” New York Times
• The woman behind the CFPB. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been in the headlines lately thanks to the fight over who will succeed its director, Richard Cordray. (A federal judge last week refused to block Donald Trump's pick Mick Mulvaney; Cordray’s hand-picked successor Leandra English says she'll seek an injunction against Mulvaney.) English isn’t the first woman to be involved with the CFPB; the bureau “owes its existence to a 2007 article Warren wrote for the journal Democracy, arguing that consumers needed a federal agency to regulate defective mortgages the way the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates defective toasters.” Politico
• Out-learning the boys. Women from low-income and minority families are vastly outpacing men when it comes to education: 17.6% of women who were high school sophomores in 2002 had received a bachelor’s degree by 2013, compared to 12.4% of men. One reason has to do with how they’re socialized: Girls derive more satisfaction from pleasing parents and teachers than boys do, according to sociologist Claudia Buchmann, while boys often feel pressured to act “masculine,” which can lead them to eschew school. The Atlantic
• The Econ gap. One field in which female students are still not nearly as well-represented as their male counterparts is economics. According to new research from the Federal Reserve, women make up about 30% of the nation’s economics majors, while minorities represent just 12%. The lack of diversity is limiting to economics policy, the report's authors note, as white male policymakers are "likely to see one particular set of solutions as providing the most compelling remedies" to social problems. Wall Street Journal
ON MY RADAR
The women who turned their food woes into a meal delivery company Motto
The 92-year-old woman who is still shaking up Wall Street Wall Street Journal
Meet ‘Supergirl,’ the world’s strongest teenager New York Times
Should women be paid for donating their breast milk? The Atlantic