Lean In, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama: Broadsheet March 9

March 9, 2018, 11:31 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Lean In turns five, retailers get makeovers for IWD, and we meet the woman behind the “inclusion rider.” Have a wonderful weekend.


Happy Lean In-versary! It’s hard to believe it, but Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s wildly popular book about women’s need to push for gender equality in the workplace, was published five years ago. Bloomberg’s Claire Suddaith and Rebecca Greenfield ask what has changed in those five years. Their answer: both everything and nothing.

On the one hand, the U.S. gender pay gap hasn’t budged, the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 still hovers around 5%, women in the U.S. still do about one-third more housework and twice as much child care as men, and only 14% of all U.S. workers have an employer that offers paid family leave—up from 11% when Lean In was published.

At the same time, the book, which was translated into 30 languages and led to 35,000 Lean In discussion groups around the world, has undoubtedly altered the conversations women are having with each other and their employees. One heartening statistic: Men and women are now asking for raises and promotions at comparable rates, which wasn’t the case five years ago. (Women are still less likely to get them.)

As Suddaith and Greenfield note, “In 2018 the idea that women seeking career advancement should simply speak up more, stop doubting their own abilities, and start asking for what they deserve seems quaint.” Readers of this newsletter know that there are barriers to women’s advancement that are out of our immediate control, be it unconscious bias, sexual harassment, pay discrimination, or adequate parental leave.

Yet the Bloomberg reporters are optimistic—and so am I—about the progress that has been made over the last five years: “Maybe women needed to lean in to find out what they were up against. Now that they know, they’re determined to keep leaning. You can see it in the marches, in the push for companies to release their salary data, in the record-setting 79 women running to be state governors this fall.” Bloomberg


Corporations celebrate. Brands and retailers came out in full force for International Women’s Day yesterday. Some highlights:

  • KFC in Malaysia temporarily replaced Colonel Sanders on its online logo with his wife, Claudia Sanders.
  • McDonald’s flipped its iconic golden arches upside-down at a California store as well on some merch. One Twitter user notes: “Now that it was inverted to make a ‘W’ for women, reversing it will make it an ‘M’ for men. Forever.”
  • Spotify launched Amplify, an online hub featuring curated playlists and podcasts that seek to “highlight, empower, and amplify important topics and voices from various communities.”
  • Old Navy placed flower installations on the female historical statues around New York City (there are just five out of 150).
  • Google revealed a Google Doodle that features a series of visual narratives from 12 female artists. The search giant will also start letting business owners identify their listings as “Women led” on Google My Business.
  • Morgan Stanley, John Hancock, Ernst & Young, and Proctor & Gamble were among 34 companies that illuminated buildings with giant symbols of the female the night before IWD.

Have we learned nothing? A quarter of men across eight countries—an aggregate that includes the U.S.—think it’s acceptable for an employer to expect an employee to have sex with them, according to a staggering new poll commissioned by the non-profit CARE. Another stunning stat: In the U.K., more than a third of 25- to 34-year-olds think it’s acceptable to pinch a colleague’s bottom in jest. Fortune

Powell’s big promotion. Two weeks ago, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein announced that Dina Powell, a veteran of the bank and most recently President Donald Trump’s deputy national security advisor, would be rejoining her alma mater. It has now emerged that she will become a member of the bank’s management committe, which has 27 men and only four other women. The bank hasn’t yet made public what her role will be outside of the committee. Bloomberg

Brain trust at Brainstorm Tech. Among the heavy-hitters at Fortune’s upcoming Brainstorm Tech conference—taking place in Aspen, Colo., on July 16-18—are a number of powerful women. Boldface names include former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Rent the Runway co-founder and head of Walmart portfolio company Store No. 8 Jennifer Fleiss, and Activision Blizzard Co-President Stacey Sher. Fortune


No longer Overlooked. Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries—though mostly of white men. It is now righting past wrongs with a new weekly feature called “Overlooked,” which will add diverse subjects to the roster. This week’s 15 subjects are women—including reporter and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, poet Sylvia Plath, photographer Diane Arbus, and Bollywood legend Madhubala. New York Times

Harris makes us wait. Politico has a lengthy interview with California Senator Kamala Harris, “the Democratic Party's newest rising star—and one of its most buzzed-about potential 2020 hopefuls.” One year into her term she has “cut a profile that offers few clues about her political aspirations.” She hasn’t ruled out a run outright, but says, “I’m going to let everybody else sit around and think about things that have yet to approach." Politico

Inclusion driver. Meet Kalpana Kotagal, the 40-year-old Washington lawyer who actually wrote the contract stipulation Frances McDormand made famous when she accepted her Best Actress Oscar and said, “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.” (Here’s a refresher on what it is.) Washington Post

Girls gotta do good. A new study published in Organizational Behavior shows that women entrepreneurs are more likely to get funding if they emphasize their social mission. The researchers explain: “Across 43 ventures and 421 evaluations, we found that on average, female-led ventures were perceived as less viable than male-led ventures. However, female-led ventures that more heavily emphasized their social impact managed to avoid this gender penalty. (Male-led ventures were unaffected.)” Harvard Business Review

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I want every girl on the planet to have the same kind of opportunities that I've had, and that my daughters are having, to fulfill their potential and pursue their dreams.
Michelle Obama, on International Women's Day

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