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You Tell Us: What Do You Want raceAhead to Cover in 2020?

December 20, 2019, 6:58 PM UTC

This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

This is the last raceAhead email of 2019. We’re on holiday break! We will be back in your inboxes on January 6, 2020.

It’s time to take a long winter’s nap! We’ve all earned it.

This year saw breakthrough engagement with raceAhead readers: In addition to sharing our stories, you’ve been sharing your own, along with podcast recommendations, recipes, and your best ideas for how create a more equitable world.

You love to see it. And thank you.

Many thanks to the extraordinary Tamara El-Waylly, for her writing, editing, and inclusion chops, but in particular for spearheading the reader op-ed initiative. While we can’t publish them all, look for more resources on how to hone your persuasion skills and master difficult conversations next year. I have a feeling they will come in handy.

Fortune will be putting a new face forward next year, too. We’ve been hard at work on a new site and mobile app, a new look for the magazine, and a new set of premium offerings that will be quite likely to delight you—and at least two new newsletters! There’s Bull Sheet, a daily on finance news with Bernhard Warner (with a name I wish I’d thought of), and Eastworld, a daily on business in China with Clay Chandler and Fortune’s growing Hong Kong team. Click those links if you’d like to sign up in advance.

Stay tuned.

But we also want to be sure to delight you. So do hit us back with some of your own 2020 wishlist topics, professional needs, and dream Q&As. My personal dream is to spend more time convening with each of you, so let’s see if we can find a way to bring these conversations to a venue near you.

See below for a roundup of some of our greatest hits of 2019; putting it together was a great opportunity to reflect on the year and the work we did together. It is a great privilege to have you as readers, responders, supporters, debunkers, debaters, innovators, sharers, and repairers of a broken world.

The top five most read:

And, as a bonus, some fan favorites:

Here’s your final haiku of 2019:

Hold the shortest day
dear: A new sun comes. It all
gets brighter from here.

We are so very grateful for you.

Ellen McGirt

Tamara El-Waylly curated and wrote the blurbs in this edition of raceAhead.

On Point

Which is the best place to work when it comes to diversity? According to Fortune's 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity list, which reviews anonymous employee feedback as part of its methodology, that would be Stryker. Since taking the helm of the medical technology company in 2012, CEO Kevin Lobo has made diversity a priority, writes Hadley Hitson. Now, the Stryker workforce consists of 35% women and 26% minorities—double what it was when he started. Rounding out the top five are Cisco, Progressive Insurance, Accenture, and Synchrony (where 16% of the workforce are people with disabilities). 

Many facial-recognition systems show bias Shocker. Bias in facial recognition has been a growing concern, given the increased use of the technology for policing, and civil liberties experts have been sounding the alarm for a while. Now, a recent federal report found that many systems falsely identified Black and Asian people 10 to 100 times more than white people (and the highest rates were for Native Americans). It even mis-identified women more than men, older adults more than younger adults. "Middle-aged white men generally benefited from the highest accuracy rates," says the Washington Post.
New York Times

On Background

A protester in Hong Kong poses for a portrait next to pieces of broken glass as a projector displays a photo behind her from a previous day of unrest.
Photograph by Felipe Dana—AP

The year in photos There are about 7.8 billion people in the world, scattered across 195 very different countries. In 2019, photos from National Geographic managed to capture a glimpse of the diversity found across the globe (the one with the orphaned giraffe at the Sarara Camp in Kenya!). There's also this album from AP, this nature-focused one from The Atlantic, and one from the New York Times (check out their travel-focused one here, too).
National Geographic

Female researchers tend to downplay the quality of their work When compared to the positive language men use when framing theirs. According to a recent study that examined the "gender differences" when it comes to presenting the importance of one's research, women were 12.3% less likely to include positive words ("novel," "excellent," "promising") describing their work in the abstract. The study, which reviewed 15 years worth of clinical research publications, also found that the gap widened to 20.4% when it came to "top-tier journals." And what's a hypothesis for this? “Savvy women learn to rein it in compared to men in order to satisfy stereotypical communal traits,” says Dr. Esther Choo of Oregon Health & Science University.

This female tattoo artist is breaking down Afghanistan's taboos “I have struggled a lot, even been threatened with death, because people in Afghanistan think doing tattoos is haram [Arabic for forbidden by religion],” says Suraya Shaheedi. But Shaheedi, who inks both men and women, says she can't just leave a profession she loves. Her family has been supportive since the start, and they take pride in her taboo-breaking dedication. And now, her business is growing, reports AP, especially as "social attitudes toward tattoos loosen up and more ink parlors open." Still, it's not a career without risks. 


"Stay far from timid
Only make moves when ya heart's in it
And live the phrase 'sky's the limit'"

—The Notorious B.I.G., "Sky's the Limit"