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Birth Control Is Linked to Breast Cancer and Poland’s PM Steps Down: Broadsheet for Dec. 8

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Another birth control study links the pill to breast cancer, a female-founded startup is gunning to be the female answer to Dollar Shave Club, and sexual harassment allegations continue to fell powerful men…Have a wonderful weekend.


What I heard. On Wednesday, I asked you, dear readers, to share your thoughts on the post-Harvey Weinstein fallout. With so many men losing their power because of inappropriate or abusive behavior towards women, some of you are optimistic that things will get better. Others of you feel that the “me too”  movement is going too far and will end up hurting women as much as it’s helping them—if not more so. Finally, most of you just want to know: What do we do next? While there have been a number of stories that try to answer that question, you aren’t satisfied. I hear you.

Below, a sampling of what’s on Broadsheet readers’ minds:

This has been a time of enlightenment…

“I think the breaking of the Harvey Weinstein story has been a pivotal point in my career and life. It was not until the story broke and I started receiving the daily Broadsheet that I was able to pinpoint exactly what I disliked about the company I work for. While I have not experienced anything as severe as some of the #metoo women, I do experience gender bias and discrimination on a daily basis.” – Jennifer

…but no cause for celebration.

“I am concerned by the almost-gleeful attitude I’ve detected in some of the reporting. For example, I’ve sensed celebration over the all-women news teams that resulted after the firings of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. While the firings of Lauer, Rose and others represent much-deserved justice for the victims, this is in no way a victory for women as a whole. When either gender is under-represented in business, politics, media, etc., society suffers.” – Ann

We need a clearer path to recourse…

“Is there a resource that we can point to that serves up smart, credible, trustworthy information women need to know in a time of crisis? A simple, one-stop shop that is easy to understand and can help anyone get armed with the right information.” – Trine

…especially when there are so many shades of gray.

“Harassment and inappropriate behavior are very nuanced and can depend on so many different factors that they are hard to define and educate on in a straightforward fashion…I have slapped a number of hands off my knee (and ass) in my lifetime, but never felt abused by those acts. I did feel diminished at times, but at other times laughed…so there is clearly a line for each of us, and that can depend upon the situation and the offender.” – Latimer

Are we taking #MeToo too far…

“At first, I was very happy that these seriously bad deeds by men of power were, at last, being brought to light, with consequences for them. But now I am wondering if things are going too far, with women bringing up every time a man made a pass at them 40 years ago.” – Valerie

…and hurting our relationships with men?

“I’m concerned that the recent attention placed on calling men to the carpet could cause men to re-trench—especially the best-meaning men. Because conscientious men are so concerned about how their actions or comments might land in this environment, many must be nervous about how to interact with women.” – Romy


The dominos coming down today:

  • Sen. Al Franken (D), as predicted, has resigned from the Senate after a chorus of female lawmakers called for the Minnesota lawmaker to quit following allegations of misconduct.
  • Rep. Trent Franks (R) resigned after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the Arizona congressman allegations of sexual harassment. He’s accused of asking staffers to bear his child as surrogates.
  • Harold Ford Jr., a former Democratic congressman, has been fired by Morgan Stanley, where he was most recently a managing director, after facing an HR investigation into allegations of misconduct.
  • Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, two longtime WNYC radio hosts, have been suspended by WNYC parent New York Public Radio. The organization has kept quiet about the exact details of the accusations against them.
  • Bryan Singer, director of Superman Returns and several X-Men movies, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy more than a decade ago. Singer “categorically denies” the allegations.
  • Lorin Stein, the editor of The Paris Review, has resigned amid an internal investigation into his behavior toward female employees and writers. He acknowledges acting in a way that was “an abuse of my position,” but insists that all sexual contact was consensual.

A scary study. A large new study published by Danish scientists found that even newer forms of birth control pills and hormone-based IUDs are associated with a small—but significant—increased risk of breast cancer. While correlation doesn’t imply causation, this particular study is noteworthy because of its wide scope and because it’s one of the first efforts to examine modern birth control methods (earlier pills, which contained more estrogen, have also been linked to increased breast cancer risk). Fortune

Pa, Beata. Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo resigned on Thursday, with Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki nominated to replace her. Next month, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is also leaving office. This means that as we go into 2018, less than 10% of world leaders will be female. Wall Street Journal

Why Harry’s met BillieBillie, the women’s counterpart to subscription razor services like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, the startup tells Fortune exclusively. The round was led by Female Founders Fund, Greycroft Partners, and Lakehouse Ventures. The female-founded company donates 1% of revenue to women’s causes and offers a cleverly-packaged “pink tax rebate”—essentially a points system for referring friends.  Fortune


Fair pay at AdobeIn July 2016, Adobe said a review of its pay practices revealed that female employees in the U.S. were earning one cent less than their male counterparts and vowed to close the divide. Yesterday, the company announced that it has reached its goal, and will work to maintain pay parity by “regularly” reviewing its compensation practices “as part of our commitment to fair pay.” Fortune

Party foul. With everything going on in the news, Silicon Valley bros have somehow still not learned their lesson. Modeling agencies in the area say they are seeing record numbers of requests for “ambiance and atmosphere models” (who are paid to pretend they’re party guests) to attend tech holiday parties.  Bloomberg

Doctors’ depression gapA new study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that medical residency—psychologically grueling for any aspiring doctor—is particularly tough on women. Before starting residency, men and women had similar levels of depressive symptoms. After six months on the job, both genders experienced a sharp rise in depression scores—but the effect was much more pronounced for female doctors-to-be. A major reason: work-family conflict, which accounted for more than a third of the disparity. New York Times

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Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


How American women helped win World War II in the wake of Pearl Harbor Observer

J.K. Rowling defends decision to cast Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts amid fan outrage  Fortune

The toxic backlash of Silicon Valley’s boys’ club Vanity Fair

2 Times reporters will write book on sexual abuse scandals New York Times


I started as a classical violinist and was going to be a lawyer and I ended up in TV and never expected to be the face of sexual harassment, so my answer to that question is, who knows?
Gretchen Carlson, declining to rule out a Senate run. The former Fox News anchor has been a key figure in the #MeToo movement, after launching a lawsuit against the now-deceased chairman of the network, Roger Ailes.