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How a diverse cabinet can push for policies that benefit women

March 22, 2021, 12:33 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sam’s Club’s CEO weighs in on the $15 minimum wage, child tax payments may be delayed, and a diverse cabinet can lead to innovative policies. Have a meaningful Monday.

– From representation to policy. We already know that President Biden has one of the most diverse cabinets of any presidential administration. But as we track the appointments and tally the numbers, it’s easy to overlook the potential consequences of such progress.

Why does it matter who makes up this team of cabinet secretaries? Of course, we know why: companies, governments, and organizations of all kinds perform better when they have a diverse, representative group of voices at the table. And for the White House specifically, it’s incredibly important that leaders reflect the population they serve.

But in a new op-ed for Fortune, Katica Roy, founder and CEO of the gender equity software platform Pipeline, gets even more specific. What policies could Biden’s female cabinet-members implement, influenced by their lived experiences?

It’s an interesting thought exercise—and the ideas Roy puts forth are grounded in the reality of what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Small Business Administration leader Isabel Guzman, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo have indicated their priorities may be.

At the Treasury, Yellen is likely to enact “gender-based budgeting,” or applying a gender lens to fiscal policy, asking questions like, “How would an investment in ‘X’ impact different genders differently?”

At the Small Business Administration, Guzman, who was confirmed as administrator last week, can take steps to support women-owned businesses, including the 25% that closed during the pandemic.

And over in the Commerce Department, former Rhode Island Governor Raimondo could prioritize closing the “gender tariff gap” by removing rate differences between gender-classified items. (An example: the average 11.9% tariff rate on men’s clothing, compared to 15.1% for women’s apparel, often passed on to consumers.)

These policy priorities are just a few examples of what having women represented at the highest levels of American government can accomplish. Learn more detail about these policies in Roy’s full op-ed here.

Emma Hinchliffe

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 Emma Hinchliffe


- Pushing deadlines. The child tax credits enacted through the recent stimulus bill are supposed to roll out in July. But the IRS commissioner warned Congress last week that the monthly payments may be delayed because of the agency's one-month extension of the tax filing deadline. Fortune

- Short-term change. Because of the urgency of the COVID crisis, some pregnant women have been involved in vaccine trials. But that may not have a lasting effect on whether or not other kinds of drug studies include pregnant women in the future, reports Fortune's Sy Mukherjee. Fortune

- Beyond the wage? As lawmakers debate a $15 minimum wage, all eyes are on the nation's largest private employer: Walmart. Kathryn McLay is CEO of the Walmart chain Sam's Club, and she says she's focused on ensuring jobs at those stores are fulfilling in ways beyond their starting salary. "You have to look more holistically," she argues. New York Times

- Bumble looks back. What was Bumble's IPO like for Whitney Wolfe Herd? As surreal as her wedding day, but frustrating as she ended up rehashing the story of how alleged gender discrimination at Tinder led her to found Bumble. "I don’t need to justify myself anymore. I’m f-cking done," she said amid the day's highs and lows. Time

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, the former U.S. surgeon general, joins the board of digital health company Everlywell. The company also hired Limbix chief medical officer Marisa Cruz as EVP of regulatory and clinical affairs. Former Metropolitan Museum of Art CHRO Allison Rutledge-Parisi joins HR tech company Justworks as SVP of people. Industrial automation startup Bright Machines hired Honeywell's Caroline Pan as CMO. 


- Electoral consequences. Beijing is aiming to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system, with consequences that reach far beyond the leadership of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Beijing will now demand loyalty from Hong Kong political candidates, leaving opposition politicians wondering if they'll ever run for office again. New York Times

- Slam dunk. Dick's Sporting Goods scored a PR win this week by sending athletic equipment to women's NCAA basketball teams after viral photos showed significant disparities in the equipment offered to men's and women's teams in the league's tournament bubbles. But the athletic chain can't solve every problem: the NYT reported that women's teams also received less accurate rapid COVID tests while the men used more reliable—and more expensive—PCR tests. 

- Remembering an icon. April 16 will mark the date that would have been Selena's 50th birthday. In honor of the beloved Tejano artist, who died in 1995, Texas Monthly put together a package of stories on her legacy, from imagining the woman she would be at 50 to examining her impact on a generation of Latinas. Texas Monthly

- 'Harnessed' no more. Bra sales are up over the past year—but women want more options now, with the pandemic accelerating some trends away from the traditional underwire. Wireless and pullover bras are both seeing higher demand. New York Times


Julia Letlow, widow of congressman-elect, wins special election for House seat Wall Street Journal

The pure joy of Waffles + Mochi, Michelle Obama's food show for kids The New Yorker

Cuomo's first accuser raises new claims of harassment and retaliation The New Yorker


"I joke, we have to be headhunters in our spare time at Ariel."

-Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson on the demand in corporate America for Black executives and board members