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raceAhead: International Women’s Day

March 8, 2018, 10:38 PM UTC

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m still very much in the mix here at Accenture’s IWD event, which is bringing together some fascinating people — like Sabeen Ali, CEO of Angelhack; Meg Whitman, CEO of New TV; and Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente — to share specific practices people can adopt to create a more equitable workplace, now, and at scale.

Catch up on all the good stuff here.

I polled the audience to see how optimistic they were that the world was moving in a more equitable direction — they were mostly optimistic, falling squarely in the middle range. That seems about right.

I also spent the minutes I was allotted to talk about the journey of developing the race beat at Fortune two years ago, and what I’ve learned from all of you.

I heaped praise on all your names.

It also gave me a chance to publicly acknowledge all my colleagues, particularly Alan Murray and Clifton Leaf, then heads of the Fortune brand and the magazine, respectively, who saw an opportunity in the marketplace of ideas for a conversation about race and business; and specifically, that Fortune had a unique role to play in exploring the issues that impact the human pipeline from birth to C-Suite.

I learned about inclusion when they included me, an experience that is amplified daily by the work we get to do together.

Thanks again to all of you.

Finally, I shared a video created by gospel singer Mykal Kilgore, a gorgeous riff on the now famous “reclaiming my time,” moment between Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The work is tough. The needs are great. And the cost to society of an unequal world is real.

But as Kilgore reminds us, there is joy in the work, and we must reclaim that too. Plus, it’s just a really good song to have in your head as it all burns down around you.

On Point

On International Women’s Day, Spanish women go on strikeSome 5.3 million women had joined the 24-hour strike, backed by 10 unions and some of Spain’s female elected officials. Their rallying cry: If we stop the world stops. Among the actions, women have vowed to abandon domestic chores and stop spending money. A public relations exec said she was striking, “in the hope that the importance of half of the population will be recognised and that it will bring about a real change."BBC

The list of young, Muslim women you didn’t know you needed
Concerned about the lack of representation of Muslim women in another magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, Zainab Khan, 24, a freelance digital artist and Maaria Lohiya, a 23-year-old photographer and videographer teamed up to create the "Trailblazing Muslim Women" list. It’s an impressive list, with academics, researchers, company founders, activists and artists, all who work closely to make the spaces they occupy more inclusive. Please bookmark and consider when organizing your next conference or panel.

Michael B. Jordan will be adding incorporate inclusion riders for his projects
Except, in an interesting way, he’ll be technically making the legal add-ons unnecessary, at least for the work he will fund. The Black Panther star announced on Instagram that all the work made by his production company, the Outlier Society, will be adopting the “inclusion rider” principle – ensuring a diverse cast and crew - in all they do. “I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.”

Women of color making little traction in the media
A new report called, "The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2018,” helps break down where women journalists of color are missing in print, radio, television and digital news. Spoiler: It's pretty much everywhere. Women of color are just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, and 6.2 percent of local radio staff. And those who are there, are tired. “There are so many micro-aggressions that come with being a journalist and female and not white,” says broadcaster Soledad O’Brien. “If you spend too much time seeing yourself — in terms of how they see you — as only those things, you will lose your mind.”

The Woke Leader

In defense of print news
You don’t have to be a Luddite to appreciate the elegant exercise recently undertaken by columnist Farhad Manjoo, who gave up all digital news and returned to print newspapers for two months. His news junkie ways have meant that he’s constantly caught up in false claims, fighting and propaganda bots that, for example, populated the air waves after the recent Parkland, Fla. shooting. Catching up on the news the next day in paper form, not only took less time, but left him better informed. After two months, “Now I am not just less anxious and less addicted to the news, I am more widely informed (though there are some blind spots),” he says. And it freed up a lot of time to be a more attentive partner and parent, and even take up pottery. He actually said that.
New York Times

The history of lives not remembered
Tip of the hat to The New York Times for this touching correction of the official record. Since 1851, their obituary section has been dominated by white men, all notable. “To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers,” they say. But not only have they added obituaries of extraordinary women who should have been included – like Charlotte Brontë who wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roebling who oversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge; and Bollywood legend, Madhubala – you can nominate your own candidates.
New York Times

Why alcohol and work might not be a good fit
Rebecca Gale digs into the culture of work-drinking, including happy hours, office keg parties and unlimited refill receptions. The dark side to working long days and cooling off with cocktails can be increased harassment, social isolation for non-drinkers and the likelihood that people will damage their health and effectiveness trying to stay on the party train. “Work events are so critical for networking and expanding career opportunities,” says one expert. “[I]f there is a work function or an office where there is alcohol present, it is going to be difficult to say no.”


I hope people see the momentum and the energy and the fact that we're uniting across all industries and all communities standing together saying we all deserve work places where we're safe and our work is valued and we can live and work with dignity. That's the future, and we have momentum, and we want to say to everyone that they should join us.
Ai-jen Poo