Susan Fowler, USWNT Lawsuit, Eventbrite: Broadsheet March 11
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emma Hinchliffe here to kick off the week. The U.S. Women’s National Team stands up for equality in sports, Eventbrite had its worst day on the market since going public, and it’s been two years since Susan Fowler revolutionized Uber. Have a marvelous Monday.
• Two years later. At SXSW this weekend, Susan Fowler took the stage to speak for the first time publicly about starting a reckoning at Uber that took down a CEO, overhauled a corporate culture, and presaged the renewed #MeToo movement by months.
Can you believe it's been two years?
"The world completely changed, and for the most part, it completely changed for the better," Fowler said Sunday morning in Austin. "It changed because a group of people all over the world decided to take their story back."
When Fowler published her blog post on Medium describing the horrific and almost comically unbelievable treatment of women who worked for the ride-hailing startup (remember those leather jackets?), she couldn't have known how far-reaching the consequences would be for one of Silicon Valley's most valuable companies.
But she knew what was wrong with Uber, and how deep it went. It "doesn’t matter how many women you have at your company if they’re all being harassed," she said of ineffective diversity and inclusion initiatives. Uber, she said, sponsored women employees, held unconscious bias trainings, and had women on its board. “If you looked solely at this—what was on paper—you would have thought it was a wonderful place to work," she said.
Today, the outrage over Uber's treatment of its female employees has calmed down, but, in the lead-up to its IPO, Uber is still devoting resources and publicity to solving related problems, like sexual assault committed by Uber drivers and riders.
Fowler is now technology editor for the New York Times' Opinion section. The topic of her SXSW panel was "The Power of a Story"—a lesson that's part of her work in journalism and one that we all learned by listening to her story two years ago.
It was reading philosophy and other people's stories that prepared Fowler to go public in 2017 and for the seismic aftermath. "It was an act of self-preservation. There’s nothing like terror to push someone to do what’s right regardless of the consequences," she said.
We're all better for it—and fortunate that Fowler is ready to talk about the life-changing experience now. CNET
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Fever pitch. The fight for pay equality in soccer has reached a new stage: the world-champion U.S. Women's National Team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and more allege discrimination in pay, training conditions, and even medical treatment. In related news, Adidas announced it would pay the same World Cup performance bonus to women players it sponsors as to the men. And the New York Times has a nice companion piece to all of this: eight times women in sports fought for equality. Fortune
• Tech titans? Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought up a proposal that caught people's attention this weekend: breaking up the tech giants. The 2020 contender called for regulators to undo some tech mergers, like Facebook's acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram as well as Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods. Fortune
• Cleaning up with Goop. At Goop's wellness summit in New York City on Saturday, Gwyneth Paltrow moderated a panel of female founders leading 'clean beauty' companies: Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew, supermodel and Welleco co-founder Elle MacPherson, and makeup artist Gucci Westman, creator of new line Westman Atelier. The four talked about the different ways their companies have chosen to define clean beauty, the lack of government regulation in the space, and the reasons "natural" products tend to be more expensive than the alternative. Fortune
• Balance is better. Private equity and venture capital firms with gender-balanced teams see a better rate of return by 1.7 percentage points, according to a new study by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp. Gender-balanced teams outperformed those dominated by a majority of men or a majority of women. Bloomberg
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Heather Wilson resigned as secretary of the Air Force; she is set to become the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Terri McCullough will be Nancy Pelosi's chief of staff in the speaker's office, making her the first woman in a paid, full-time version of the position. Gisel Ruiz left her role as chief operations officer at Sam's Club, part of Walmart Inc. Sarah Isgur Flores, the former Republican political operative whose hiring as a political editor at CNN set off a fierce outcry, will instead take a role as a political analyst, a more standard move for government officials transitioning to TV. MediaLink hired Bucky Keady as SVP, executive search and Suzanne Kelly as VP, executive search.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Hard day for Hartz. Eventbrite, led by CEO Julia Hartz, had its worst day as a public company on Friday. The ticketing company lost a third of its value after revealing challenges around its 2017 acquisition of Ticketfly. For the first time since going public in September, it traded below its IPO price. CNBC
• Warning for Warner Bros. Another story that unfolded last week: the relationship between Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara and actress Charlotte Kirk. Tsujihara allegedly pushed for auditions and roles for Kirk. The situation also involved a settlement agreement and mediation by Brett Ratner—yes, the director accused of his own sexual misconduct. Tsujihara apologized for his behavior on Friday. The Hollywood Reporter
• Military misdiagnosis. A chilling BuzzFeed story describes how a dozen women who served in the military and experienced severe abdominal pain were misdiagnosed by military doctors as having "female problems" or period cramps—putting their lives at risk and creating new medical issues by failing to treat ovarian cysts and other serious conditions. Civilian doctors at home diagnosed them easily; a few servicemembers had to have hysterectomies as a result of the dismissive treatment. On a related note, the New York Times has a remarkable piece with 40 stories from women about life in the military, both the good and bad.
• Lady luxury. Facebook's targeted advertising is under more scrutiny than ever, but Morin Oluwole still makes it look glamorous. The global head of luxury for Facebook and Instagram, Oluwole counsels luxury brands on how to use the two platforms to their financial benefit. She's the business-side counterpart to Instagram's Eva Chen, who's more focused on fashion's public figures. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
What would a world without sexism look like? Glamour
This quiz will reveal which important woman from history you are BuzzFeed
Actually, women do ask for money. They just don't get it The Cut
The real history of women wouldn’t look quite so nice on a tote bag Washington Post