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Equal Pay Day, Google Heritage Foundation, Darktrace: Broadsheet April 2

April 2, 2019, 11:18 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Googlers push back against a Heritage Foundation leader, we’re still trying to build a better breast pump, and we commemorate Equal Pay Day. Have a terrific Tuesday.


Your say on Equal Pay Day. Today is Equal Pay Day in the U.S., the date into the new year that women had to work to to earn as much money as men did in 2018. It accounts for the average pay gap for all women in the U.S., which stands at 19.5%, but it’s worth noting—as we do below—that Equal Pay Day for black, Latina, and Native American women falls much later in the year.

The Broadsheet covers the gender pay gap year-round (though we wish we didn’t have to!), so to mark this occasion, we wanted to hear from you. Last week, readers shared with us their experiences with the pay gap. Some edited excerpts are below.

--A.F., in the communications industry, recalled working as a lifeguard and realizing a less-experienced male colleague out-earned her. She confronted HR about it, but was met with excuses and reprimanded for gleaning the information from her co-worker’s misplaced pay stub. “I didn’t get a raise,” she says. “[It was] my first experience with a ‘boys club.’ I'm still questioning myself nearly 10 years later.”

--Sonia Hodge, in K-12 educational administration, says when working for a past employer, she was asked “to fill the top finance office without getting paid or recognized for it.” Her unique circumstances—on the verge of marrying a man who lived out-of-state—gave her little leverage. She eventually resigned. “That was only five years ago, but I’d do things differently now.”

--Christy Kirk, who’s now in social media marketing, was ecstatic when she was once offered the job of general manager at a TV group’s largest station. She was expecting to earn at least $165,000 per year, the salary of a smaller station’s GM; she was offered $80,000 instead. “[T]hey said it was because it was my first GM role. I pointed out that every GM in our company was on their first GM role and ALL made more than $80,000, and ALL were men. I tried negotiating but there was no negotiation. I refused the job,” she says. Months later she planned to leave the company two weeks short of her contract's end. “The president of the company, who had low-balled me for the GM job, threatened to sue me for leaving two weeks early. I told him to please sue because I had a lot of things to say under oath. It went away. I went away,” she says. “But I still have bruises from such a blatant attempt to underpay me or any woman.”

--‘There are a lot of little girls out there who would like to have your job,’ is the all-too-familiar line Cari Coats, managing partner at Accendo Leadership Advisory Group, heard earlier in her career. “That’s what I was told in my mid-20s when I questioned why the TV station I was working for hired my new male co-host at my same salary. (I had more experience and a better track record). So...I quit. When I reflect back on my (very successful) career, I realize what a defining moment this was for me.”

--April Johnson, owner of Good Cakes and Bakes in Detroit, once worked at a company that forbid employees from discussing salaries. “After leaving that job, I was mistakenly sent an offer letter for a new hire straight out of college that was $18,000 higher than the listed starting salary,” she says. Now at her own business, “[a]ll employees start at the same living wage, which is above minimum wage, and everyone is eligible for a $3/hour raise after three months based on their performance.”

--S.R., in beauty intelligence, says she intervened when a female developer requested a salary lower than her male colleague's. “I told her I would pay her more, the equal amount, but next time she had to negotiate for it,” S.R. says. “I think startup founders who have an influx of cash have rare opportunities to reset the dynamic. [J]ust highlighting the differences to her made her change her mode of thinking and her value. She now knows when she wants a pay increase, to consider her worth, her colleagues, and to not just pick an arbitrary number.”

The complexity of the gender pay gap is often framed in statistical terms: Is the ‘average’ gap a reliable figure? Are we comparing ‘apples to apples’? And how do we account for variables like motherhood? (For more on all that, see below.) But as your responses indicate, the personal toll of the gender pay gap is just as multi-faceted; it can plant seeds of doubt and regret, it can build resilience, and it can galvanize meaningful change.

Claire Zillman


 The problem with Equal Pay Day. April 2 is technically Equal Pay Day for all women—but averages can be misleading. The date comes only two weeks before Equal Pay Day for white women and a full four months before the dates for black, Latina, and Native American women—obscuring the more significant pay gaps faced by many women. Fortune

Ask an expert. Katie Donovan was the force behind the first statewide ban on employers asking job candidates about their salary histories. She talks to Fortune about what's next in closing the pay gap—maybe including salary ranges in job descriptions? Fortune

Pay gap truthers, begone. Have you heard a "Well, actually" from a co-worker today about the gender pay gap? Fortune's Katherine Dunn writes a helpful guide on how to handle a pay gap denier by clapping back to common myths about the issue. Fortune

 22 years in the making? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had hoped President Donald Trump would have signed the Paycheck Fairness Act by today, Equal Pay Day. That won't happen, but there does seem to be momentum behind the legislation that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D–Conn.) has introduced in every Congress since 1997. The question now is whether it will run into a political buzzsaw in the Senate. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Bain & Company named Erika Serow CMO. Tracie E. Ahern was named global CFO at PineBridge Investments. Martina Hund-Mejean joins the board of directors at Truata.


Googlers push back. Google employees are petitioning the tech giant to remove Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James from its new A.I. advisory council. In an open letter, Google workers objected to Coles James' "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant" views, particularly on a council meant to manage the ethical challenges of technology. Fortune

 How the sausage gets made—or doesn't. Irin Carmon, with reporter Amy Brittain, broke the news in the Washington Post of sexual harassment allegations against Charlie Rose. In a new piece, Carmon details how parts of her follow-up story—with new allegations against 60 Minutes head Jeff Fager, later reported by The New Yorker—got quashed. It's a combination of legal maneuvering, editors' (including the Post's Marty Baron) close relationships with other editors and executives, and "#MeToo fatigue" in media. Carmon's examination of the situation from start to finish gives remarkable insight into how journalistic institutions can fail victims of sexual assault and harassment. The experience inspired Carmon's speech when she accepted an award for best story on sexual misconduct in the media. "Indeed, the system is sitting in this room. Some more than others," she said, with Fager listening. New York Magazine

Darktrace doubles. Darktrace, the U.K. cybersecurity unicorn led by Nicole Eagan and Poppy Gustafsson, saw its revenue nearly double last year from £30.8 million (about $40.4 million) to £59.5 million (about $78 million). The disclosure came just after the startup got dragged into a £4 billion lawsuit between HP and software company Autonomy, where both Eagan and Gustafsson used to work. Telegraph

Building a better breast pump. Vox goes deep on the startup quest to build a better breast pump. Writer Anna North tried out the breast pump from Willow (meant to be used in public) and examined the options from startup Elvie and traditional manufacturers. The conclusion: lots of companies are trying to disrupt breast pumps, but there are still a lot of challenges—namely, inhospitable policy and attitudes toward breastfeeding moms. Vox

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


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