Serena Williams, International Women’s Day, Rent the Runway: Broadsheet March 8
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Rent the Runway moves into home decor rentals, IBM’s Ginni Rometty leads the push to pass the Equality Act, and Serena Williams helps us celebrate International Women’s Day. Have a powerful Friday.
• Serena celebrates IWD. Today is International Women's Day. Are you feeling festive? You should. It's an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women, and to call for even more action on gender equality. Fortune has a deep line-up of stories to commemorate the day, as you'll see below, but we're kicking things off with a word from someone who's certainly racked up a lengthy list of achievements—on and off the court: Serena Williams, the tennis icon and board member of SurveyMonkey and Poshmark, is marking IWD with an op-ed for Fortune. Here's a snippet:
Today, March 8th, marks International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements across social, economic, cultural and political spheres. Every year, I look at IWD as a reinvigorated call to action: together, we can accelerate global efforts to reach true gender parity.
In our fast-paced world, expectations for women continue to rise, as do workplace demands and, unfortunately, double standards. Navigating it all is especially tough for working moms, myself included—I feel the pressure both on and off the court. Even with all the resources I’m incredibly blessed to have, motherhood comes with so many unexpected challenges, especially when it’s time to go back to work.
As a board member of SurveyMonkey, I encouraged the company to conduct a pair of surveys that would help us better understand the adversity American women face when it comes to balancing their professional and personal lives. One focuses on the experiences of working parents, while the other delves into those of all women in the workforce. After reviewing the results, one thing is clear: many of us are facing strikingly similar challenges.
For starters, our data show that women are four times more likely to say they provide more childcare than their male partner—pulling a double shift at work and home. This contributes to the fact that nearly half of women say they have sacrificed career goals for their family. I know I did. More than half of moms feel guilty leaving their children to go to work and a third say their job makes it challenging to do the things they want and need to do for their family. Forget the cliché of ‘having it all,' the reality is, women are trying to do it all.
The surveys also revealed that there's a 10 percentage point difference in the share of men vs. the share of women who say they are “extremely” or “very” comfortable taking risks to advance their careers. This is something that’s really important for me to emphasize: it’s OK to take a risk for your professional growth. You have to make yourself uncomfortable and push your limits to find out what you are truly capable of accomplishing. Whether you’re a top executive, talented artist or passionate athlete, the risk is always yours to take.
Williams goes on to advocate for women's support for other women, the break down of sexist double standards, and the end of penalties for new moms returning to work. You can read her entire op-ed here, but I'll leave you with her rousing rallying cry: "We must band together and fight for what’s fair." Fortune
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
• Supercharge your IWD. This International Women's Day, we've got a fun video series for you: superwomen! The videos feature members of Fortune's Most Powerful Women community talking about their superpower, showing off their power poses, revealing their nemesis, and more. Fortune
• Courageous CEO. In further celebration of the holiday, we're kicking off a series of video interviews in which female executives and founders share a challenge they've faced—and how they overcame it. First up: Rana el Kaliouby, founder of Affectiva, on how she mustered the courage to say she wanted to be CEO of her company. Fortune
• Worth a thousand words. Fortune photo editor Alex Scimecca has compiled a collection of historical photos of women in the workforce to mark the day. Take a gander: Fortune
• Happy holiday. How is Berlin celebrating International Women's Day? This year the German capital has made March 8 a public holiday for the first time, meaning most workers and students have today off. Fortune
• Lucky 13. Plus, the Google Doodle! This International Women's Day, Google's search page logo honors 13 impressive women with an interactive Doodle made by women. Among the women featured: American astronaut and physician Mae Jemison, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, and Indian boxer Mary Kom. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass is joining the board of PepsiCo. Nordstrom's Karen McKibbin takes over as president of the Chico's brand. Anne Dinning went back to hedge fund D.E. Shaw as a member of its executive committee. Netflix VP of content Bela Bajaria will now lead the platform's international non-English TV originals. Leonie Schroder and Deborah Waterhouse join the board of Schroders. Alicia Valencia joins Beautycon as president.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Rent the rug? Rent the Runway is moving into another kind of rentals: home decor. "The home used to be a private space. But now it’s a very public space," CEO Jennifer Hyman says of the effect of social media. Rent the Runway enters its first category outside apparel and accessories through a partnership with West Elm. Bloomberg
• Rometty's rally. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is leading a group of chief executives calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would protect LGBT people from discrimination. On behalf of the Business Roundtable, she writes, "As employers, America’s leading companies know that our economy works best when our employees can be who they are, without fear of bias, discrimination, or inequality." Axios
• The Ilhan Omar story. Let's talk about Rep. Ilhan Omar. A controversy has been brewing over charges of anti-Semitism against the Minnesota congresswoman, who is opposed to Israel's policies in Palestine. Some have called her anti-Israel statements anti-Semitic, while others point out that Omar—a black woman—is facing a degree of scrutiny not applied to most other members of the House. This piece has a good play-by-play if you haven't been following the story. NPR
• The Queen has posted. Queen Elizabeth II has published her very first Instagram post. She didn't make a new account—apart from the Royal Family account that already posts updates on her behalf—but there are photos of her pushing the "share" button herself from an iPad. The caption is signed "Elizabeth R." for "Regina," which is not a given middle name but instead means "Queen." Fortune
ON MY RADAR
Meet the women deciding not to have kids because of climate change Fast Company
These women are revolutionizing Hollywood—with Time's Up Entertainment Marie Claire
A tour of movieland with the women of Rodarte New York Times
There's something about Barbie: On the doll's 60th anniversary Glamour