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From ‘chairman’ to ‘chair’: J.P. Morgan’s bylaws get a gender-neutral update

March 17, 2021, 1:08 PM UTC
JP Morgan Logo In NY
J.P. Morgan on Tuesday updated its bylaws to remove any gender designation.
Nicolas Economou—NurPhoto/Getty Images

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Six Asian women are killed in Atlanta shootings, single moms in China are fighting for their rights, and one bank’s bylaws get a more inclusive update. Have a thoughtful Wednesday.

– Pull up a chair. Job titles have always been one barometer of corporate zeitgeist. See the emergence of chief happiness officers, chief futurists, and—who could forget?—digital prophets. This week has already been a busy one on the title front, with Tesla telling the SEC that CEO Elon Musk is also the company’s ‘Technoking.Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn got a second title too: ‘Master of Coin.’

Then came an SEC filing from J.P. Morgan Chase that was, um, subtler in tone. The bank updated its bylaws to eliminate any gender designation. That means its “chairman” role is now called simply “chair,” and it deleted a line that read: “The masculine gender, where appearing in these by-laws, shall be deemed to include the feminine gender.” It also swapped “his,” “him,” and “her” pronouns for gender-neutral terms throughout the document.

The changes no doubt are an effort, however small, to show that J.P. Morgan is an inclusive business dedicated to diversity—a stance that aligns with investor demands and, more and more, societal expectations. The tweaks also reflect an encouraging trend at J.P. Morgan; that leadership positions are not reserved for men. The bank is led by longtime CEO Jamie Dimon, but 40% of its board is female, as is 44% of its operating committee, (though men still dominate its executive and senior-level ranks in the U.S.)

Research into job listings shows us that the language we use to describe a profession and its duties can dictate who applies for a given role. And while company bylaws are far from a job advert, it’s important that they too hold no preconceived notion about who’s qualified to wield power—now or in the future.

Claire Zillman
claire.zillman@fortune.com
@clairezillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Claire Zillman

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Shooting spree. Six Asian women were among the eight people killed in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors on Tuesday night. Police arrested a 21-year-old man, who's the suspect in all three shootings. Authorities have not determined a motive, but the tragedy comes as the U.S. faces a surge in hate incidents against Asian-Americans. New York Times

- Landmark ruling. A Japanese district court on Wednesday ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a precedent-setting decision in the only G7 nation to not fully recognize same-sex partnerships. Reuters

- Miller time. Agricultural giant Cargill hired its first female chief financial officer, announcing Tuesday that Jamie Miller will join the 156-year-old firm in June. Miller, previously CFO at General Electric, is only the second outsider to join Cargill as CFO; the company usually promotes from within. Miller's hiring is the latest management shakeup at Cargill. When all the changes take effect, the 12-person executive team will include five women. Bloomberg

- Cuomogate. The latest allegation against Andrew Cuomo is that his team circulated a letter (which was never made public) that sought to discredit Lindsey Boylan after she accused the New York governor of sexual harassment. A Cuomo advisor declined to comment to the NYT on the letter. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Cuomo should resign if an ongoing investigation confirms his accusers' claims. 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Visa named Michelle Gethers-Clark chief diversity officer and head of corporate responsibility. Audible announced that Leigh Zarelli is joining the company as chief product officer. SoulCycle hired Adwoa Dadzie, previously of Comcast, as head of people. Audio-based social media app Clubhouse named former Netflix exec Maya Watson as head of global marketing. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Clean-up job. The Afghan government and the Taliban have been engaged in peace talks since September. At the table is Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan lawmaker and women's rights activist, who has survived two assassination attempts, including one by the Taliban. "We have a proverb that says—you cannot wash blood with another blood, you need water to wash blood," Koofi says. "So we really need to pour a lot of water to clean up all the blood that has been shed in this country for decades." NPR

- On their own. Single mothers in China have long been in a legal gray zone when they've attempted to collect public benefits like paid maternity leave and prenatal exam coverage; the paperwork often requires a marriage license. Now, a small group of advocates is pushing for legislative changes that recognize the rights of unmarried moms. Associated Press

- Baby news. A baby girl born in Florida to a mother who was vaccinated at 36 weeks has antibodies against COVID-19, according to a pre-print paper published last month. The authors believe their report is the first to indicate that mothers who are vaccinated during pregnancy can pass antibodies on to their babies. The report adds to growing—but still incomplete—research on COVID-19 vaccinations and pregnancy. Business Insider

ON MY RADAR

The lost story of Lady Bird Atlantic

Racism causes high infertility in Black women Quartz

Expecting a baby in 2021? You could end up with another $1,400 stimulus check Fortune

PARTING WORDS

"So often they’d stop in and someone would say, ‘I need a hug, Sister Jean.' We’re a real hugging community."

- Sister Jean, the 101-year-old chaplain of Loyola-Chicago's men's basketball team, on what she's missed out on during the pandemic. Fully vaccinated, she'll be back on the sidelines of this year's NCAA tournament.