Bernie Sanders, Meghan Markle, First Partner: Broadsheet January 11
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Bernie Sanders apologizes to women who were harassed on his 2016 campaign, ‘Green Book’ encounters some trouble, and the title of first lady gets a facelift. Have a wonderful weekend.
• First lady? Try 'first partner' During Hillary Clinton’s two runs for the White House, there was plenty of speculation about what Bill Clinton’s title would be if his wife won the presidency; he would, of course, have been the first male spouse of a commander-in-chief. First husband? Or “first dude” or “first mate,” as the candidate herself once suggested in jest. It’s worth noting that Gauthier Destenay, husband of Luxembourg’s openly-gay prime minister who was the first man included in the NATO spouse photo, goes by the distinguished ‘first gentleman,’ which was also floated as a possibility for Clinton.
This week, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of new California Governor Gavin Newsom, took one step toward putting the question to rest—by taking ‘lady’ out of the equation. She announced that she’d be adopting the gender-neutral title of 'first partner'—rather than 'first lady'—in an effort to advance gender equality. Her Twitter bio already reflects her alternative title.
Siebel Newsom is well suited to advocate for the change. A documentary filmmaker, she’s produced two films on gender roles—one in 2011 about women’s representation in media and a second in 2015 about toxic masculinity.
The title tweak is a small thing, but—should it be adopted more broadly—it could assume more meaning, especially ahead of 2020, when more women than ever are expected to bid for the presidency. History and research tell us that many Americans struggle to picture a woman in the country’s chief executive role; avoiding the silly hang-up of her significant other's title would make for one less point of friction.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Payback time. A U.K. law required women who were forced into marriages abroad to repay the British government for the cost of helping them escape (a misguided extension of the same policy it applies to British tourists who get in trouble overseas). After outrage, the government has reversed that policy and will instead seek repayment from the people who sent the women abroad. New York Times
• Charitable causes. Kensington Palace revealed Meghan Markle's first four official charity patronages as Duchess of Sussex. The former actress takes over Queen Elizabeth II's duties as patron of the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. But the other two are Meghan's own: animal welfare charity Mayhew and Smart Works, an organization that helps vulnerable women find work. The Duchess visited Smart Works on Thursday, where she helped pick out job interview outfits. CNN
• Is it too late now to say sorry? Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders apologized to women who were sexually harassed while working for his 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. (Adviser Robert Becker is accused of forcibly kissing a woman who worked for him, and the campaign paid out a $30,000 settlement over a discrimination claim that Sanders said he didn't know about.) Sanders's apology comes as he considers a 2020 run. Associated Press
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Katie Arrington, who lost her bid for Congress in South Carolina in November, will work for the Department of Defense as a highly qualified expert appointment, or HQE, on cybersecurity. Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game this weekend. Jana Winograde was named co-president of entertainment at Showtime. Chieh Tsai was promoted to chief product officer at Lands' End. Michele S. Warman was promoted to EVP and COO of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Long overdue. Following the surprise announcement by Jim Yong Kim this week that he's stepping down early as president of the World Bank, Meighan Stone and Rachel Vogelstein of the Council on Foreign Relations argue that the institution should appoint a woman as president—for the first time in its 74 year history. Fortune
• The road to the Oscar? After the film's Golden Globes wins, troubling stories are emerging about the team behind the "racism drama" Green Book. Director Peter Farrelly apologized for a history of flashing his genitals at work—a habit that was presented as a joke in 1990s stories about him. A writer on the film, Nick Vallelonga, deleted his Twitter account after others noticed a tweet in which he agreed with President Donald Trump that he saw "Muslims in Jersey City cheering" on Sept. 11, 2001. The Cut
• Postgrad moves. Callisto launched as a way to streamline the reporting process for sexual assault on college campuses. Now the nonprofit is bringing its technology to the workplace. Wall Street Journal
• Cooking up something new. Chef's whites aren't the standard anymore, with clothes for culinary professionals getting redesigned to better fit women. Hedley & Bennett, Tilit, and Polka Pants are three companies designing the next, more inclusive generation of chef's uniforms. New York Times
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