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Five Female Candidates Consider the Singular Glass Ceiling: The Broadsheet

July 2, 2019, 12:19 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Wimbledon has its youngest star ever, more moms are flying solo, and five female Democratic candidates for president consider the glass ceiling. Have a terrific Tuesday!


- Five candidates; one glass ceiling. Vogue yesterday published a must-read featuring interviews with five women running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The story by Chasing Hillary author Amy Chozick is chock-full of fascinating tidbits about the White House hopefuls: Amy Klobuchar got into politics by calling for mandated postpartum hospital stays; Elizabeth Warren credits her professional rise, in part, to her daughter's potty-training proficiency years ago; Kamala Harris rightfully spins questions about 'women's issues' into conversations about the economy and national security.

Chozick writes that the women's historic presence at the debates last week signaled "that the era of a dozen men—and maybe a lone woman—arguing the issues is over." But that doesn't mean they're not dogged by the same tired questions about electability. 

The candidates themselves skirt matters of gender, wanting to talk policy instead. "I’ve heard from girls eight, nine, ten years old, and for them this is what an election should look like. It’s not a shocker," Representative Tulsi Gabbard says. 

In trying to answer the question posed by the story headline—What will it take to shatter the most stubborn glass ceiling?—Chozick herself offers this take on the current cycle: 

"One of the upsides to running in 2020 is that nothing much is a shocker anymore. Porn stars and Russian hackers? The president of the United States, in a span of a couple of days, picking fights with Meghan Markle and Bette Midler? Maybe I am being overly optimistic, but I see something liberating—particularly for female candidates—in Trump’s subverting of traditional political norms . . . because women presidents aren’t the norm either."

Interestingly, research published last week in Harvard Business Review cites the question at the heart of the Vogue story—whether a woman is ever going to be elected president—and deems it in and of itself "baffling."

Authors Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman write that their corporate research—analysis of 360-degree reviews—finds that "women in leadership positions are perceived just as—if not more—competent as their male counterparts."

But we know that electability is not just about leadership skills. Zenger and Folkman know this too and flag "incorrect and unwarranted" bias as a prohibitive force. 

"[W]omen make highly competent leaders, according to those who work most closely with them," they write. "[W]hat’s holding them back is not lack of capability but a dearth of opportunity. When given those opportunities, women are just as likely to succeed in higher level positions as men." 

Claire Zillman




- Crazy for Coco. Tennis phenom Cori 'Coco' Gauff took Wimbledon by storm yesterday in her victory over five-time champ Venus Williams. The 15-year-old American is the youngest woman to qualify for Wimbledon in the modern era and has credited the Williams sisters with inspiring her to pursue the sport. NPR

- Flying solo. Single motherhood is expensive, but more women than ever are interested. Women choosing to have kids on their own used to be wealthy and have only one child; now a growing portion are upper middle- and middle-class and have more than one child. Women's greater representation in higher-paying jobs is one factor in the shift. Wall Street Journal

- Doing diversity right. A reminder and some practical tips here for how to make sure diversity initiatives specifically address the needs of women of color: analyze opportunities for women of color to progress at your organization, ensure any implicit bias training takes an intersectional approach, and more. Harvard Business Review

- She's the captain now. Carola Rakete is captain of the aid boat Sea Watch 3, and she's a new face of the migrant crisis in Europe. The 31-year-old was arrested at a port on the island of Lampedusa for bringing to shore 40 migrants who were stranded at sea for much of June. Doing so was in violation of Italy's zero-tolerance closed ports policy. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Joanne Bradford joined the board of directors at OneLogin. Principal Financial Group named Guardian Life Insurance's Beth Wood SVP and CMO. 


- IMT in the DMZ. Ivanka Trump seemed to be everywhere this weekend, from her memed involvement in a conversation with Christine Lagarde and Justin Trudeau, to her appearances alongside her father at G20. By accompanying the president into North Korea, her role as First Daughter-cum-diplomat became especially historic. Washington Post

- Questionable guidance. The U.K.'s Home Office has an official policy note on trafficking of women from Nigeria—but the document said that women who had been trafficked could return to Nigeria "wealthy from prostitution” and "held in high regard." One of the many problems with that language is that it can hurt women's attempts to seek asylum in the U.K.; it's provoked outrage from politicians and activists. Guardian

- Hong Kong protests. On the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from the U.K. to China, there are usually demonstrations. But protests morphed into mayhem yesterday following the recent controversy over the proposed law that would have allowed extradition to mainland China and unhappiness with Chief Executive Carrie Lam's leadership. Fortune

- (Scooter) Did Something Bad. Are you up to date on your niche drama this week? Manager to the stars Scooter Braun bought Big Machine Records—aka Taylor Swift's entire back catalogue. Swift accused Braun of bullying—his clients include Kanye West and Justin Bieber, both involved in the Swift-Kim Kardashian drama of 2016—and said she wasn't given the opportunity to purchase her own music. It continued to escalate from there: Fortune

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


Girlboss pivots to provide a LinkedIn for professional women TechCrunch

Kim Kardashian agrees to change the name of her Kimono brand Fast Company

Hearst chief content officer Kate Lewis recommends throwing out your to-do list The Cut


I’m a woman who’s really into her career, so I’m obsessed with the craft of my work. ... There’s a romance in that for me.

—Musician Mitski in a 'New Yorker' profile