Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Laura Bush speaks out against family border separations, Oprah Winfrey harvests an Apple, and women are running smack dab into the “maternal wall.” Have a mindful Monday!
• Hitting the maternal wall. In July 2014, I wrote a story for Fortune with the headline: “Yes, pregnancy discrimination at work is still a huge problem.”
Nearly four years later, the same still rings true.
On Friday, The New York Times published several accounts that illustrate the kind of bias that exists today.
Take, for instance, the story of Erin Murphy, who had been praised for her work at Glencore, the commodity trading and mining company—until she became pregnant. Murphy says her boss told her her career would “definitely plateau” because of her pregnancy. In another episode when Murphy asked about future career moves, she claims he told her, “You’re old and having babies so there’s nowhere for you to go.”
After being passed over for several promotions, Murphy has retained a lawyer and is planning to file a lawsuit. A Glencore spokesperson has defended the company as being “committed to supporting women going on and returning from maternity leave.”
The NYT‘s piece shows that Murphy is not alone in her experience—as do EEOC statistics. The agency fielded 3,184 complaints of pregnancy discrimination last year—nearly double the number it received when it started keeping track electronically in 1992.
“There are 20 years of lab studies that show the bias [against pregnancy] exists and that, once triggered, it’s very strong,” Joan C. Williams, a professor at University of California Hastings College of Law, told the Times.
The Broadsheet writes a lot about breaking glass ceilings, but it’s vital to remember that many women don’t get that far; as Williams puts it, they’re “[hitting] the maternal wall” first. New York Times
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• ‘Breaks my heart.’ In this widely-circulated op-ed, former First Lady Laura Bush speaks out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. “I live in a border state,” she writes. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.” Washington Post
• Drip, drip, drip. Three months after facing civil fraud charges, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and her No. 2 (and one-time boyfriend) Sonny Balwani were hit with criminal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors, and patients with their bunk blood-testing technology. Holmes hasn’t commented on the charges to the WSJ; Balwani denies them. If convicted the two could each face up to 20 years in prison, fines of $250,000, and restitution to individuals they allegedly ripped off. Wall Street Journal
• The queen of all content. Oprah Winfrey has signed a collaboration deal with Apple to create original content—film, TV, applications, and books—as the tech giant pushes to reach a broader audience. Unlike the deal Netflix struck with Shonda Rhimes, Winfrey’s agreement with Apple will see her Harpo Films company own any and all content that results from the partnership. Fortune
• Not playing ball. NPR has an interview with Deborah Epstein, who recently stepped down from the NFL’s Players Association Commission on Violence Prevention. The director of the Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic took the role in 2014 after several NFL players were accused of domestic violence. But she says she resigned recently because her ideas to reduce such incidents went nowhere, with officials telling her they would be “kicked down the road because ‘it was the Super Bowl, it was the draft, it was the season.'” NPR
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has selected Kathy Kraninger, a deputy at the budget office, to succeed him at the consumer watchdog.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Dig in. When female characters eat in movies, the act is usually used to telegraph a bigger message: in Miss Congeniality, a woman’s eating signifies loneliness; in Bridget Jones’s Diary (and so many other films) a woman tucking into a pint of ice cream is meant to show just how pitiful she is. This Eater piece celebrates Ocean’s 8 as revolutionary for showing women eating…simply to eat. “It’s rare to see scenes where women eat thoughtlessly,” Eater‘s Melissa Buote writes, “in a way that is just a basic statement of a woman as human.” Eater
• Finding your voice. Women of today speak at a deeper pitch than women of past generations. Researchers suspect women’s rise to more prominent roles in society has led them to adopt deeper tones that project authority and dominance in the workplace. BBC
• Preach! Campaigns using hashtags like #SilenceIsNotSpiritual and #ChurchToo are looking to remake evangelicalism by pushing churches to condemn domestic violence, train pastors to care for victims, and encourage women to assume positions of leadership. Their ultimate goal is to make their faith community a safe space for abuse survivors. “God values women,” says Ashley Easter, an organizer. New Yorker
• Goals. The New York Times followed along as an Iranian women’s rights activist watched her home country play in the World Cup in Russia. The woman, who shields her real name out of fear of arrest, has campaigned to let women attend matches in Iran, where they are banned from doing so. “It is their right, they have to be in the stadiums,” she said of Iranian women. “Football is not for men only.” New York Times
Editor’s note: Friday’s Broadsheet misidentified the state Stacey Abrams is running in. She is, of course, the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia. We regret the error.
ON MY RADAR
‘Captain Marvel’ will be the first Marvel film to be scored by a woman The Muse
The quest of Laurene Powell Jobs Washington Post
No, not all women are Democrats New York Times
Melania Trump says she “hates to see” family border separations in rare policy statement Fortune