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Lis Smith Buttigieg, Marimekko, Stephen Moore: Broadsheet April 30

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women are working a record proportion of blue-collar jobs, we meet the media mastermind behind Pete Buttigieg, and, yes, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is still a thing. Have a terrific Tuesday.


• Time to say so long to the Swimsuit Issue? There are some sights you just never forget. For me, those lasting images include the splendor of Patagonia’s Perito Moreno Glacier, the first time I laid eyes on my wedding dress, and the day I walked into my old midtown office, only to be confronted by a sea of women’s butts.

I was working for Fortune sister publication Money at the time, and the butts in question—three of them, belonging to topless models with their backs to the camera—were courtesy of another Time Inc. magazine, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. One perk of working at the company was the access to free magazines, which were piled throughout the building. But for some reason—maybe hoarders?—the annual SI Swimsuit Issue was the only one that was personally delivered to our office door.

That hallway of tanned cheeks is on my mind today because of news that Somali-American model Halima Aden will become the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the upcoming issue. She looks amazing—and surely it counts as progress to see a young Muslim woman represented in the pages of the popular, mainstream publication.

Yet it also makes me wonder—as I did that morning many years ago—what the swimsuit issue really represents, and to what extent we should really celebrate the ‘firsts’ it achieves. (There have been plenty of others, including Ashley Graham as the first plus-size cover model, snowboarder Brenna Huckaby as the first featured amputee, and last year’s disastrously ill-conceived #MeToo-themed shoot, in which women painted phrases like “more than my appearance” onto their otherwise naked bodies.)

Sure, it’s a fashion mag and a great way to sell ads. But it’s also a remnant of an old world where “we” all agreed on what was sexy—a skinny white woman with large breasts wearing as little clothing as possible. And even as the magazine leans on women like Aden—who, like so many of us, fall outside of that teeny, tiny box—to provide them with a sprinkle of wokeness, the majority of previous issues have been more of the same.

Maybe that will change this year. (The new issue comes out in May.) Or maybe our ideas of sexiness and desirability have finally evolved beyond something that can be contained in a single package and put on the newsstand—or delivered to your office door.

Kristen Bellstrom


Blue-collar boom. A record number of women are working blue-collar jobs traditionally held by men, from delivery people to warehouse workers. While women still make up a small fraction of these workforces—9% of truck drivers, for example—the growth is attributed to broadened recruitment efforts, the tight labor market, and women feeling like they won’t be alone on the job. Wall Street Journal

The lowdown on NDAs. Fortune‘s Jeff John Roberts writes in our latest issue about how non-disclosure agreements have taken over the tech industry. It’s a worrying trend, as NDAs—often a reason victims of sexual harassment are scared to speak out—developed into “an all-purpose cudgel to control employees and suppress criticism.” Fortune

Syndio’s software. The startup Syndio offers software that helps companies crunch their gender pay gap numbers in minutes; this week, Syndio and the National Women’s Law Center released a set of pay equity standards that Slack and Match Group have pledged to follow. But what really jumps out are the ways companies have minimized the appearance of their pay gaps: “They will say, well, so-and-so is Senior Vice President of Brown Leaf Tracking in America,” CEO Maria Colacurcio says, “and there is no female counterpart so we’re going to exclude that role.” Bloomberg

He was no angel. After Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve Board Stephen Moore was found to have written offensive commentary about women (to recap—as if you could forget—he said that women who aren’t “attractive” shouldn’t be allowed to work in men’s sports and that women earning more than men “could be disruptive to family stability”), the White House now says it is “reviewing” his past writings. At the same time, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow maintains that Moore still has the administration’s “full support.” Moore apologized for the columns on Sunday—”I’m not saying I’m an angel.”—but argued that the comments don’t disqualify him for the job. Washington Post

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Tracy Faber was named EVP and chief human resources officer for McKesson Corporation. Smartsheet hired Anna Griffin as CMO. Margie Lee-Johnson joins Checkr as VP of People. Instawork has hired Deb Sharkey as SVP, Growth and Operations.


Reforms that work. During apartheid, black women were effectively locked out of the workforce in South Africa by laws requiring black South Africans to show they had accommodations before entering cities, coupled with a lack of accommodations available to women. Reforms in the post-apartheid era have benefitted women, narrowing the gender pay gap for low-paying jobs from 21% to 7% and doubling the percentage of working women with post-secondary education from 10% to 20%. Bloomberg

Mayor’s media mastermind. If you’ve been seeing Mayor Pete Buttigieg everywhere, thank (or blame?) Lis Smith. A New York Democratic operative, she masterminded the strategy that got Buttigieg from a little-known mayor to a presidential contender. She understands the rhythms of the political press and tabloids after being followed by the latter when she dated Eliot Spitzer; her plan for Buttigieg was to get him “on everything.” Politico Magazine

More Marimekko. The Finnish brand Marimekko has expanded its classic patterns to hoodies and scrunchies and is focusing on growth, thanks to Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko. “Now we are playing the global game,” the 37-year-old CEO says. Financial Times

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


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