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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Time’s Up reckons with its proximity to power, Tesla wants Robyn Denholm to stay in charge, and women and girls wonder what comes next in Afghanistan. Have a reflective Monday.
– What comes next for women. This weekend, the world watched as the Taliban took over Kabul and, with it, Afghanistan. Journalists, translators, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals who worked with American forces over the past two decades scrambled to find safety as Afghanistan’s president fled and the U.S. Embassy closed. And Afghans across the country—including young people who have never known an Afghanistan under Taliban control—reckoned with what this new era means for their own lives.
One big question in the months leading up to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was: what about the women and girls? Gains to women’s rights—from the freedom to work to access to girls’ education—were one of the most tangible results of the long conflict.
There were the teen girl robotics team champions. The Afghan women serving in elected office and working in the government. The girls attending school. The female Afghan journalists working throughout the country. The women’s rights activists.
Over the past year, Afghan women have said they “fear[ed] the worst” about what was to come—and that Americans’ promises to protect women’s rights were “just slogans.”
Many Afghan women knew that Taliban control was a possible—and even likely—outcome. Over the past several months, they’ve been preparing for the possible loss of their careers, educations, and freedoms under Taliban rule. Women who have entered the workforce over the past several years fear they won’t be allowed to continue their careers. Girls going to school worry about the future of their education.
With the Taliban now in control of the country, many of those women and girls are bracing for what happens next. The nonprofit newsroom the Fuller Project has been in touch with Afghan female journalists on the ground in Kabul; one reports that, “The whole city has changed towards women [nearly overnight] … Tomorrow they cannot go out. Life has stopped.”
Says women’s rights activist Fawzia Koofi: “Women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country.”
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.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Terms of service. Airbnb has been criticized for using confidential arbitration to address allegations of sexual assault and violence between guests and hosts. The travel rental platform is now changing its terms of service so that such claims are no longer forced into arbitration and may instead proceed in court. Fortune
- Time's up? The gender equity organization Time's Up came under fire last week for its leaders' connections to the administration of outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; lawyer Robbie Kaplan resigned as chair of the nonprofit's board over her reported role advising Cuomo as he faced allegations of sexual harassment. Now Time's Up CEO Tina Tchen says in a new interview that she has "learned from this about a blindspot I had:" how the group's connections to people in power can sometimes compromise its mission. The 19th*
- Still on board. In 2018, the SEC suspended Elon Musk from being eligible to serve as chair of the electric automaker's board; the company named its board member Robyn Denholm the new board chair as a result. Musk's suspension is coming to an end, but Tesla is asking that Denholm stay in her current role as board chair, citing her "leadership experience and her financial and accounting expertise." Bloomberg
- CEOs on childcare. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris met with business leaders including Patagonia president Jenna Johnson, Seventh Generation CEO Alison Whritenour, and the leaders of Etsy, Chobani, and more, with the goal of building corporate support for the Biden administration's childcare proposal. "We know that it directly impacts worker productivity and the bottom lines of your businesses," Harris told the group. New York Times
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- All about Greta. How did Greta Thunberg end up at the center of so many rightwing conspiracies? The teenage climate activist is the subject of "a torrent of abuse, disinformation, and conspiracy theories of the kind typically reserved for older and more powerful figures," this piece argues. The Atlantic
- Flex-ible supply chain. On the latest episode of Fortune's podcast Leadership Next, Flex CEO Revathi Advaithi shares how she kept the global supply chain moving throughout the pandemic. Flex is the third-largest manufacturing company in the world, making products from consumer goods to automotive parts without putting the company's name on any of it. Fortune
- Freelance contract. Hayden Brown is the CEO of the freelance platform Upwork, and she says the freelance economy is the result of workers' desire for more flexibility—as well as the weakening of the employer-employee pact and its role in the social contract. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
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-Amy VanHaren, founder of the breastfeeding support app Pumpspotting, which has a new partnership with the state of Maine
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