Indra Nooyi says asking for a raise is ‘cringeworthy.’ Women are doing it anyways


Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A judge blocks the enforcement of Texas’s abortion law, GM has a new plan to take on Tesla, and Indra Nooyi says she’s never asked for a raise. Have a good Thursday.

– Nothing to cringe at. There’s no doubt Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, is an inspiring business leader—for women, for women of color, for working mothers, for immigrants, for champions of sustainability and those nudging consumers toward healthier lifestyles. It’s no wonder that when I Google ‘Indra Nooyi,’ a top-suggested term is her ‘leadership quotes.’ People want to hear from the business executive (and new author) who ran one of the world’s largest companies for an impressive 12-year streak.

But they might’ve been a bit surprised—as I was—to hear Nooyi’s recent comments on pay. In an interview with The New York Times magazine, Nooyi said she’d “never, ever, ever asked for a raise.” Why? “I find it cringeworthy,” she said. “I cannot imagine working for somebody and saying my pay is not enough.”

It’s clear from the interview that Nooyi is very cognizant of the financial privilege she amassed late in her career. In her last full year at as PepsiCo CEO, she earned $31 million. More executives could use that kind of self-awareness. And maybe Nooyi always felt that she was paid fairly for the work she did, and well, it’s hard to argue with that.

Still, the comment was stunning in that it came from such titan of the corporate world. At the same time, it was relatable. Women are socialized to not talk about money, let alone ask for more of it. We know that demanding higher pay reflects poorly on us. McKinsey and research in 2016 found that women who negotiate for raises and promotions are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to be called “bossy,” “intimidating,” or “too aggressive,” and they are 67% more likely than women who don’t negotiate to get that feedback.

What’s reassuring is that many women likely have those feelings, but ask for the money anyways. Researchers found that—contrary to conventional wisdom—women ask for raises just as often as men.

The gender pay gap makes it clear that those demands are not always met. In fact, though women and men ask for raises at the same rate, men are more likely to get them, a phenomenon academics blame on discrimination. One way to combat that bias is to normalize women asking for raises, a trend that seems to be underway. Plenty of women are asking to be paid what they’re worth in private, and more and more, it seems, women are doing it in public; athletes are demanding equal pay, comics are declining to work for free, and actors are speaking up when they feel shortchanged. None of them have cringed; in fact, they’ve barely blinked.

Claire Zillman

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


- Rights resume. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman yesterday temporarily blocked the enforcement of SB8, Texas's six-week abortion ban. The federal judge wrote that the court "will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right." The Justice Department sued to block the law. Reuters

- Now hiring. The Mom Project helps job candidates find positions that prioritize work-life balance. Now the platform has raised $80 million in new funding. The company says that August was a turning point for hiring, with the number of people searching for work up 69% over pre-pandemic levels. WSJ

- Taking on Tesla. GM, led by CEO Mary Barra, said yesterday the company is aiming to double its revenue to $280 billion by the end of this decade. The plan is part of a strategy to be less like a traditional automaker, and more like Tesla—and get the valuation of a tech company as a result. CNBC

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Kelly Campbell, who left her role as president of Hulu this month, will become president of the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock. Standard A.I. hired former Waymo exec Jennifer Haroon as CFO and former Lyft exec Angie Westbrock as COO. Khosla Ventures hired Shernaz Daver, a longtime adviser to GV, as senior operating partner and CMO. Health care platform H1 hired former OODA Health chief people officer Traunza Adams in the same role. Former Workday exec Leighanne Levensaler joins the board of Legion.


- Clothing value. WeWork made adjusted EBITDA famous with its "community-adjusted" measurement that left out building rental costs during its failed IPO. Now, this piece argues, Rent the Runway is following in WeWork's footsteps. The clothing rental service's S-1 offers an EBITDA stat that excludes depreciation—an iffy prospect when the core asset is clothing. Financial Times

- Reading list. Melinda French Gates' latest move? Her own imprint. The philanthropist is launching Moment of Lift Books with publisher Flatiron Books, dedicated to publishing nonfiction about women and girls. Elle

- City speech. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam gave a two-hour speech this week—her last policy address before elections in six months. During the speech, she supported Hong Kong's controversial national security law and shared plans for development to address the city's housing shortage. South China Morning Post


Cathie Wood to move investment manager ARK to Florida WSJ

The gender researcher's guide to an equal marriage The Atlantic

Mic reboots itself, with more pop culture coverage and less politics New York Times


"If you're prepared, you're more powerful."

-Pinterest whistleblower Ifeoma Ozoma, who's launching the Tech Worker Handbook, a website that aims to help tech employees come forward as whistleblowers.

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