Melinda Gates, Sri Lanka, Lyra McKee: Broadsheet April 22
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Canada has no female premiers for the first time in 11 years, we remember Lyra McKee, and Melinda Gates talks about her new book. Have a mindful Monday.
• Mom lit. Today's guest essay comes to us from Fortune's Michal Lev-Ram, who recently sat down with philanthropist and investor Melinda Gates to discuss Gates's new book, The Moment of Lift (read the Q+A here):
For someone who loves books, I sure don’t read that many of them. Why? Despite my best intentions to make time for literature, life with three kids (and, ahem, a job) means that other plans are usually in store for me—last week’s curve balls included a pink eye epidemic, which was only slightly better than The Great Lice Outbreak that afflicted my household last fall. (Don’t judge.)
Lately, though, I’ve managed to crack open and actually read a few books: Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Becoming, educator Esther Wojcicki’s How to Raise Successful People, and The Moment of Lift, by Melinda Gates. It wasn’t totally intentional, but all three recently-published works happen to be written by powerful women who happen to be mothers. And all three provided a message that many of us need to hear over and over again—no one, not even the seemingly most successful woman in the room, has this whole work-kids-relationship thing totally figured out. Obama writes about battling guilt while taking work calls from home after her firstborn Malia’s birth. Wojcicki, the mother of three highly-successful daughters, opens up about her own toxic childhood and the hard work that goes into breaking the cycle of abuse. Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, delves into the challenge of figuring out an equitable division of labor at home—yes, that’s a struggle even for the uber-wealthy.
These three strong women come from very different walks of life, and their lives have unfolded in very different ways. But they have this in common: A big part of their strength comes from their ability to be real about their vulnerabilities, and to share them with others. As Obama says in her memoir: Our stories aren’t always “pretty or perfect.”
A few weeks back, after a particularly imperfect morning getting all three kids ready for school, another mother approached me as I was rushing through the drop-off routine. She had a big smile on her face. Oh no, I thought, she’s going to ask me to volunteer for something. Instead, she handed me a little piece of paper with the words, “You’re a good mom.” I almost started crying right then and there. Could this be my guardian angel, sent from above to remind me that it’s okay not to be perfect?
Well, as it turned out, the card was actually an ad for a clothing line this other mom had started. But in the moment before I realized that someone was just trying to sell me something, I felt like I wasn’t alone. That I wasn’t the only one who listens in to early-morning conference calls while packing lunches and changing diapers and all of a sudden realizing we’re out of formula. So, to all the moms out there: You’re a good mom. And also, go read a book, even if you have to sneak some pages between applying antibiotic eye drops.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Tragedy in Sri Lanka. More than 200 people were killed in three bombings at Easter Sunday church services in Sri Lanka and three at hotels. High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK Manisha Gunasekera has been one of the country's more visible spokespeople in the wake of the tragedy. "This is an attack against the whole of Sri Lanka," she told CNN in reference to the country's multiculturalism; about 7% of the population is Christian. CNN
• 2020 updates. Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week became the first 2020 candidate to call for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump (and last night became the first to, really, review Game of Thrones). Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is now the first presidential contender to back a challenger in the primaries, putting her support behind Marie Newman, who is challenging the antiabortion Illinois Democrat Rep. Daniel Lipinski.
• #MeToo roundup. The chief justice of India's Supreme Court, Ranjan Gogoi, was accused of sexual harassment and retaliation by a junior court assistant; he's denied the allegations. ZipRecruiter CMO Eyal Gutentag resigned following reports of sexual misconduct at a previous job. The New York City Ballet was ordered by an arbitrator to reinstate two principal male dancers who were fired for sharing sexually explicit photos of female dancers; their union, the American Guild of Musical Artists, had challenged their terminations. And women at the prestigious Salk Institute describe a culture of marginalization and hostility.
• First in Florence. Antonella Bundu is the first black woman to be a candidate for mayor of a large city in Italy. Running for mayor of Florence, Bundu is the lead candidate in a coalition of radical-left parties and known as the "nemesis" of Matteo Salvini, Italy's far-right interior minister. The Guardian
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Linda Johnson Rice will leave the board of Tesla as part of a shakeup of the company's oversight. WeWork COO Jennifer Berrent was named co-president and chief legal officer. Nellwyn Thomas was named chief technology officer for the DNC, with Kat Atwater as deputy CTO; Thomas is the first woman in that job. Katie Meyler resigned as CEO of More Than Me, six months after a ProPublica investigation into rape of girls in the care of her charity. Nancy Liu was named CEO of De Beers' Forevermark.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Oh, Canada (again). For the first time since 2008, zero provinces or territories in Canada are led by a woman. In 2013, six women were in those positions—but they've been steadily replaced by men over the past six years. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley lost reelection to Jason Kenney last week, bringing the number down from one to zero. Bloomberg
• Australia <3s Rihanna. Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard reveals the background of her relationship with Rihanna, who she recruited to become an ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education. "I know ours is an unusual relationship," says Gillard, the first female prime minister of Australia. "Since spending time with her, I’ve become a fan. Not only of the music, but more importantly a fan of her work and the efforts she’s prepared to make to uplift the education of every child around the world." Vogue Australia
• A glass ceiling in space. Geraldyn M. Cobb died at 88 last week, and her life story is equal parts frustrating and inspiring to professional women. Cobb was set to be the United States' first female astronaut in 1961 until NASA's process for selecting astronauts from a pool of all-male test pilots stopped her. She fought the exclusion for years and used her skills as a pilot for humanitarian causes on Earth. New York Times
• LGBT women on Buttigieg. There has already been a lot of commentary about what it means to have an openly gay candidate for president, Pete Buttigieg. But The Daily Beast asks an interesting question: how do queer women feel about Buttigieg's candidacy? Many say they would rather see the first female president than the first openly gay male president. The Daily Beast
ON MY RADAR
Mom jeans made women love denim again Washington Post
Work friend: The wages of being a woman at work New York Times
Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, and the rise of pregnant stand-up New York Times
How Lizzo conquered her fears and found her best self Rolling Stone