Rent the Runway Unicorn, Indra Nooyi, Female VPs: Broadsheet March 22
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Indra Nooyi says the real problem getting women in the C-suite is a “leaky pipeline,” yet another woman-led startup hits unicorn status, and we are fed up with this female VP talk. Have a wonderful weekend.
• Upbeat and fed up. It’s a banner Friday here at the Broadsheet—this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of covering the minting of two women-founded and -led unicorns in a single week.
As you’ll recall, Emily Weiss’s Glossier announced Tuesday that it had secured an additional $100 million in funding, bringing it to a valuation of $1.2 billion—over the $1 billion threshold and into the rarified realm named after the mythological beast. Now, a second woman-run company has followed: Rent the Runway, led by CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman, has raised a fresh $125 million, boosting its valuation to an even $1 billion. (It's worth noting that in addition to having female leaders, both companies serve majority female consumers, yet more evidence that companies built by and for women can go toe-to-toe with the biggest players out there.)
And, in an inspired bit of timing, the RTR news comes as Hyman is nine months pregnant. Emma caught up with her to talk about fundraising while expecting, the responsibilities of running a majority-female company, and her parental leave plans.
While I wish I could send you off into the weekend on that good news note, I’m afraid there’s something else I need to get off my chest…
I’m sure you’ve all seen the crush of stories this week about the male Democratic presidential hopefuls, and which one said what about his willingness to bring on a female running mate, should he manage to secure the nomination. Just a few examples: Joe Biden’s advisors are reportedly weighing packaging his “I’m running” announcement with a pledge of Stacey Abrams as his VP; Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke have both “signaled” that they’d pick a female veep; and John Hickenlooper said “of course” he’d run with a woman—only to live up to his “Hickenblooper” nickname by following up with a question: "But how come we’re not asking, more often, the women, ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’"
In a race that already has a record-setting SIX women running—with the potential of more to come (we're looking at you, Stacey)—the conversation has, rather unbelievably, already moved on to which of these highly qualified candidates should play second fiddle to a man. How about we let these women actually run before we start slotting them into a job that is widely seen as mostly ceremonial?
What's more, let's say one of these men does land the Democratic bid—and that he does then nominate a woman as VP. Now, no matter her qualifications, that woman will be saddled with an all-too-familiar notion: that she's a token, chosen purely for diversity's sake.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Hi, Indra! I highly recommend this "Corner Office" interview with Indra Nooyi. The former PepsiCo CEO weighs in on Amazon's failures with HQ2 (she's now a board member); the tension between introducing more healthy products and continuing to sell sodas; and the "leaky pipeline" to getting more women in the C-suite. "We get enough women coming into the work force in various stages. But by the time they get to Level 2 and Level 3, they just drop out," she says. New York Times
• Taking action. Six days after the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country has banned the sale of all military-style semi-automatics, assault rifles, and high capacity magazines. “Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Fortune
• A look inside Lloyd's. Lloyd's of London does business the old-fashioned way, with rubber stamps and paper. At the 331-year-old insurance market, another sign of the old days is still thriving—sexual harassment to a degree that makes it the "most archaic corner left in global finance." Bloomberg
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Carol Folt, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was named president of the University of Southern California, the first woman in the role on a permanent basis. Brandless co-founder Tina Sharkey stepped down as CEO; she'll be co-chair of the board of directors. Sara Araghi joins Rent the Runway's board of directors. Netflix exec Lisa Nishimura will now run the streaming platform's indie movies. Houseparty co-founder Sima Sistani takes over as CEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• It takes two. The Wing and Time's Up have partnered to host the anti-sexual harassment organization's future programming at the co-working space's physical locations. Plus, The Wing donated stock in its business to Time's Up—something it says is a first. Fast Company
• Telling the world. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke revealed in a New Yorker piece that after filming the first season of the TV series in 2011, she suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms. "I’m so happy to be here to see the end of this story and the beginning of whatever comes next," she writes of her show. The New Yorker
• CA x 50. If every state were to pass legislation like California's requiring women on companies' boards of directors, 3,732 board seats at firms in the Russell 3000 would open up to women. Bloomberg visualizes what that would look like: Bloomberg
ON MY RADAR
How to be a writer and still get really, really rich The Cut
Marsai Martin is making big-time, big-screen moves Elle
Why doctors think a Kim Kardashian selfie is important The Atlantic