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U.K. Voters Send a Record Number of Women to Parliament

December 16, 2019, 11:45 AM UTC
(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Hallmark Channel bans—and then reinstates—a Zola ad, Ivanka Trump does a softball interview, and U.K. voters sent a record number of women to Parliament. Have a productive Monday.


- An election record. The extent of the Conservatives' victory in last week's general election shocked the U.K. But another development was surprising, too: the record-breaking number of women that voters sent to Parliament. 

Women will hold 220 seats, or 34%, of the House of Commons, up from 208 seats after the 2017 election. While that number is still well below parity, it's remarkable given the climate leading up to the election. Eighteen sitting female MPs decided to stand down in the election because of overwhelming online harassment. "Nobody in any job should have to put up with threats, aggressive emails, being shouted at in the street, sworn at on social media, nor have to install panic alarms at home," former MP Heidi Allen wrote to her constituents, explaining her decision not to seek reelection. 

Also haunting those lawmakers: the 2016 murder of MP Jo Cox and the extent to which the latest wave of digital abuse has been sexist and racist. A study found that half of all abusive tweets during the 2017 general election were targeted at Diane Abbott, the first black woman elected to Parliament. 

And yet, women still broke records on Thursday. Women's representation in Parliament is following some of the same trends we see in the U.S. Just like the number of female lawmakers elected has progressed among Democrats while stalling in the GOP, the Labour party is ahead of Conservatives on this front. While Labour suffered significant losses in last week's election, the party is now represented by more women (104) than men (98). Among Conservative MPs, the gender gap is much wider: 277 men to 87 women.  

The Guardian has more details on the gender breakdown of the new parliament, from the Lib Dems (whose leader Jo Swinson lost her seat) to the surging Scottish National Party led by Nicola Sturgeon. 

Emma Hinchliffe


- Ivanka's interview. Ivanka Trump traveled to Qatar for the Doha Forum, where she answered softball interview questions on her women's economic development initiative from Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokesperson who also works on the program. The interview was especially jarring in comparison to the tough questions answered by world leaders, from the Turkish foreign minister responding to allegations of war crimes committed by Turkey in Syria to Sen. Lindsey Graham discussing impeachment. BuzzFeed

- Liu's life. More than a year ago, then 21-year-old Liu Jingyao said that billionaire founder Richard Liu raped her. Since then, the college student has faced an online slut-shaming frenzy whose closest comparison may be Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s—but with the full scale of the modern Chinese Internet. Liu talks about her life now: New York Times

- Reporter vs. runner. The runner who groped a reporter's butt during a live TV broadcast has been charged with sexual battery. WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian tweeted that "No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere" and asked the Savannah Police Department to press charges. The man, Thomas Callaway, said that groping Bozarjian was a "mistake" and that he was trying to wave—a claim that video of the incident does not appear to support. NBC News

- Wedding season. The Hallmark Channel stopped airing an ad from wedding company Zola that showed two brides kissing after a conservative group petitioned the channel. Zola, led by co-founder and CEO Shan-Lyn Ma, said it will no longer advertise on Hallmark at all—and the channel is facing a boycott during its Christmas movie season. Last night, Hallmark reversed its decision and said it would air the ad again; the channel's CEO said he was "sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused." BuzzFeed

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Desiree Perez was named CEO of Roc Nation


- Masterclass. HP chief human resources officer Tracy Keogh led a masterclass in salary negotiation at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. Her tips? Start negotiating in conversations as early as possible—and don't mention money at first. Fortune

- Bloom's back. Despite the outcry against Lisa Bloom following the revelations in books She Said and Catch and Kill about the work she did for Harvey Weinstein, the attorney is still representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein. "Everything in that memo," Bloom says in this profile, referencing a damning memo published in She Said that outlined a plan to discredit actress Rose McGowan, "if I did say it, I certainly don’t believe now. I was talking about one person—Rose McGowan, not women in general." Guardian

- Modern fertility. Fertility benefits aren't just for employees at giant tech companies. Carrot Fertility CEO Tammy Sun says that fertility coverage has gone from a luxury good to a "fourth pillar" of health benefits, alongside medical, dental, and vision. Fortune 

- Big ideas. Fortune's Ellen McGirt hosted a town hall to close out Next Gen, where we heard from Salesforce's Vivianne Castillo, the NFL's Samantha Rapoport, and former Democratic primary candidate for governor of Maryland Krish O’Mara Vignarajah. Read on for their big ideas on how to fix bias throughout corporate America: Fortune


Women have always had abortions New York Times

How a winemaker’s plant-based diet led her to grow Austrian grapes in Pennsylvania Fortune

Canadian jury finds former SNC-Lavalin executive guilty on fraud, corruption charges Wall Street Journal


"I briefly worried that people might not subscribe to a podcast hosted solo by a woman, so I considered taking on a human male co-host. Instead, I gave the job to my dog."

-ESPN writer and host (and Fortune alum) Mina Kimes