We’re way more likely to have a woman president in 2020 than ever before. I know, you’re thinking, isn’t that just because there are six women in the presidential race right now — the most in history?
Not so fast: Simple probability isn’t the only factor at work here. In Politico Magazine today, Cyrus Mehri writes there is a huge difference between having just one woman in the race versus multiple women. A single woman faces enormous headwinds; multiple women alter the collective expectations of the electorate, dramatically increasing a woman’s chances of making it to the end.
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How does he know this? Mehri has a lot of experience advising major businesses on diversity — he helped the NFL write its diversity-promoting Rooney Rule — and he’s found that when companies interview just one woman or minority candidate in a pool of white males, there’s statistically almost no chance the diverse candidate will get the job. But when multiple diverse candidates are in the competition, the chances that a diverse candidate will get the job skyrocket.
And I mean skyrocket. According to a business school study, “Companies were 79 times more likely to hire a woman and 194 times more likely to hire a person of color when the finalist pool included more than one woman or minority.”
Sure, presidential elections aren’t business interviews, but Mehri sees the same tricky status quo dynamics at work. “It’s too much to ask one woman to break the glass ceiling,” he writes. “But collectively, the half dozen women running for the nation’s highest office can do it.” Politico Magazine
Happy Friday! Welcome back to Women Rule. In the 11th annual Congressional Softball Game this week, the media team, the Bad News Babes, beat the lawmakers 10-3. As I write this, outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is eyeing the governor’s mansion in Arkansas. Tip your hats to Maya Parthasarathy, who contributed to the newsletter this week. Send us tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up here.
HISTORIC HEADSHOTS — Exclusive: Today Abrams Books announces the upcoming release of The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power, a book by the New York Times with a foreward by Roxane Gay, featuring portraits of 130 (out of 131) women in the most diverse Congress ever. (The book is out October 15, 2019.)
In the book’s introduction, Elizabeth Herman, the photographer behind the project, writes, “More women holding elected office is significant not only in that it brings Congress closer to looking like the American population. It also expands the collective imagination about what power can and should look like.”
You might have seen the photos online — the Times first published them in January — but you probably didn’t know that Herman found inspiration in historic paintings. The result is striking.
— Here’s a fun related read: “Influx of Women in Congress Gives Spouses Club a Makeover” by Kristina Peterson and Natalie Andrews WSJ … And here’s another photo essay on the new women of Congress: “We Call Ourselves the Badasses” POLITICO
2020 WATCH — “The political donor class is mostly white and male. Some women of color are trying to change that.” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee: “No longer content to simply be the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters — 94 percent of African American women voted for Clinton over President Trump in 2016, for instance — some women of color are seeking to break into the influential but overwhelmingly white and male world of political donors.” WaPo
— “‘Who’s Taking Care of the Kids?’ Is Finally a Question for Dads on the Trail, Too” by Lisa Lerer NYT
WANT TO FOLLOW WOMEN ON THE BALLOT? — The Women & Politics Institute at American University School of Public Affairs and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation announced this week they are launching Gender on the Ballot, a new non-partisan project diving into the gender dynamics in the 2020 race. The project will analyze the role gender plays in politics — how it is rewarded, punished and policed. An upcoming July poll will tell us more about what “electability” means to voters. Learn more here
NEW WOMEN RULE PODCAST — This week, Anna interviewed Linda McMahon, former head of the Small Business Administration and current chair of the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action, about everything from her runs for U.S. Senate to founding what’s now the WWE.
— Highlights … On meeting the president: “I first met President Trump at a Rolling Stones concert in New Jersey.”
— Why women entrepreneurs have trouble raising money: “Women don’t often toot their own horn enough.”
— On working in the macho world of pro wrestling: “When I first started — and really just [as] what would today be an administrative assistant for [my husband] Vince because he was really the driving force and knew the industry and the business — your wife wasn’t typically supposed to be working with you in the particular industry, so I didn’t use my name, Linda McMahon. I used the name Linda Kelley.” Listen and subscribe … Read the story
RETIREMENT WATCH — Rep. Susan Brooks shocked political insiders this week when she announced she would retire. The Illinois Republican is one of only 13 GOP women in the House, and, as recruitment chair of the NRCC, is a major part of the effort to elect more Republican women to Congress. While there has been a lot of speculation that Brooks might step down as head of candidate recruitment, one source familiar with her thinking says that’s not the case. In fact, the move could allow her more time to recruit and raise money, the source said. Democrats, meanwhile, jumped on the announcement as a sign of the GOP’s problem appealing to and electing women. More from Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanona
SPEAKING OF POLITICAL BIDS — “‘This place has enough creepy old men’: GOP vows to crush Roy Moore” by Burgess Everett. Moore, the Republican plagued by multiple sexual misconduct allegations who lost an Alabama senate seat to Democratic Senator Doug Jones in 2017, is back for more, and the GOP is not happy. “‘Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men,’ said Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), referring to Washington, when asked about Moore’s candidacy.” POLITICO
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — On Tuesday Trump announced in a tweet that his pick for defense secretary, Pat Shanahan, would be withdrawing from the nomination process to “devote more time to his family.” The announcement followed a USA Today report that “the FBI has been examining a violent domestic dispute from nine years ago between acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and his then-wife as part of a background investigation ahead of his possible confirmation.” USA Today
2020 CONGRESS WATCH — Kim Olson, an Air Force veteran, announced this week she’s running against Texas GOP Rep. Kenny Marchant in 2020, touting her military background and an anti-Trump message. Olson has investigated sexual assault in the military and started a nonprofit to support women veterans. Playbook calls this one a race to watch. Olson’s video (h/t Playbook)
AGEISM IN NY? — “Five NY1 Anchorwomen Sue Cable Channel for Age and Gender Discrimination” by Michael M. Grynbaum: “The plaintiffs range in age from 40 to 61 and include Roma Torre, one of the channel’s longest-serving anchors. ‘We feel we are being railroaded out of the place,’ Ms. Torre said in an interview. ‘Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date.’” NYT (h/t Daniel Lippman)
A FIRST FOR THE NAVY? — “Lawmaker Wants Navy Ship Named for Senior Chief Killed in Syria” by Patricia Kime: Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent was passed over for an officer accession program when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and as a result ended up in Syria, where she was killed in a suicide bombing. Kent’s death prompted the Navy to revisit its waiver and appeal process for the officer program, and now Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to name a ship after her. “The honor would be the first for the Navy: Of the service’s nearly 300 ships, fewer than a dozen are named for women and none commemorate a female service member killed in action.” Military.com (h/t Bill Duryea)
AROUND THE WORD — “Gender Stereotypes Banned in British Advertising” by Valeriya Safronova: “Men unable to change diapers; women cleaning while men kick their feet up on the couch; women having trouble with parking: Scenes like these, which play on gender stereotypes, are now banned in British advertisements. … The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority said in a statement that it will also ban ads that connect physical features with success in the romantic or social spheres; assign stereotypical personality traits to boys and girls, such as bravery for boys and tenderness for girls; suggest that new mothers should prioritize their looks or home cleanliness over their emotional health; and mock men for being bad at stereotypically ‘feminine’ tasks, such as vacuuming, washing clothes or parenting.” NYT
— “Men need not apply: university set to open jobs just to women” by Tania Rabesandratana: “Starting on 1 July, the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands will not allow men to apply for permanent academic jobs for the first 6 months of the recruitment process under a new fellowship program.” Science Magazine
— “Pakistani police target traffickers selling brides to China” AP (h/t Daniel Lippman) … “I’m pregnant and forced to choose between being an MP and a mum” by Stella Creasy Guardian … “Slovakia’s First Female President, Zuzana Caputova, Takes Office in a Divided Country” by Marc Santora NYT … “Thelma Cabrera: indigenous, female and shaking up Guatemala’s election” by Nina Lakhani Guardian
EXPLAINING YOUR SLEEPLESS NIGHTS — “Women Working Longer Hours, Sleeping Less, as They Juggle Commitments” by David Harrison and Soo Oh: “Caitlyn Collins, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of a recent book on women managing careers and children, said women are dealing with increasingly demanding employers and an expectation that they will ‘put their time and devotion to their kids.’
“‘Of course these two things are impossible to accomplish at the same time: full allegiance to one’s job and full allegiance to one’s family and this is not asked of men,’ she said. ‘My understanding based on interviews that I’ve done with American women is they’re giving up sleep, they’re giving up leisure time, they’re giving up exercise and they’re giving up friendships,’ Ms. Collins said.” WSJ
MORE ABOUT THAT PHOTOSHOPPED PICTURE — “Why women in tech are being Photoshopped in instead of hired” by Rani Molla: “Around 2014, under heavy pressure from activists, many tech companies for the first time began releasing reports about their employee diversity. …
But five years later, these companies have only become incrementally more diverse. While they’ve made strides in raising their companies’ overall diversity percentages, they’ve largely done so with lower-level positions. Women and people of color are still vastly underrepresented in leadership and technology roles: the high-paying, high-prestige jobs for which tech companies are known.” Recode
YOUR HEALTH — “A Breakthrough in the Mystery of Why Women Get So Many Autoimmune Diseases” by Olga Khazan: “In a paper published last week in the journal Trends in Genetics, Melissa Wilson, an evolutionary biologist, along with her colleagues from Arizona State University, put forward an explanation called the ‘pregnancy-compensation hypothesis.’ It suggests that women’s immune systems are engaged in a fierce tug of war with placentas, even when the organs aren’t actually present. …
“Women today tend to have far fewer children — fewer than two on average in the United States, according to the CDC. Wilson reasons that without a more or less constant pushback from placentas during pregnancies — the pushback that women’s immune systems have evolved to anticipate — the immune system can get too aggressive, too ramped up. It starts looking for things to attack that aren’t dangerous, which is how autoimmune diseases set in.” The Atlantic
THIS IS A NEW ONE — “Man sues brewery over ‘women’s only’ IPA, claims he ‘felt forced to identify as female’”: “To celebrate International Women’s Day, the brewery and pub chain BrewDog introduced the so-called Pink IPA. It was the same exact beer as the company’s popular Punk IPA, but it was sold to women for 20 percent less. The campaign was an attempt to highlight the gender pay gap. …
“According to court documents, Judge Philips agreed that [Dr. Thomas] Bower was discriminated against because of his gender and awarded him over $1,200. Bower reportedly donated his winnings (minus costs to himself) to charity. He claims to have sent equal amounts of money to the Young Women’s Trust and the Campaign Against Living Miserably.” Fox News
BOOK CLUB — “The New Rules of Middle Age, Written by Women” by Ellen Gamerman: “As a new wave of women step into their mid-centuries and beyond, they’re looking to chart a course for the second part of their lives that looks different from the one their mothers knew. This spring and summer, books by women look at midlife as a time to start over, take risks and view themselves in the world as anything but invisible.” WSJ
IN MEMORIAM — Watch Anderson Cooper’s great tribute to his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, who died this week at 95. “I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who’d come from a distant star that burned out long ago. … She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life’s pleasures, its pains as well. … She was always in love.” CNN
— “Before Trump and the Kardashians, Gloria Vanderbilt Invented the Personal Brand” by Ginia Bellafante NYT
OUT AND ABOUT — Women came out in force on Wednesday night for a “Salute to the Women Chiefs” of the 116th Congress in the Capitol. Anna moderated a conversation at the event which was done in partnership with Women Rule. Five women chiefs of staff, including Bianca Ortiz-Werthim of Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Stacey Barton-Palmer for Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Linda Shim for Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Jackie Cottrell for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Angela Ramirez for Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) discussed how they made it to the top, hurdles they encountered and gave advice for how to get more women in leadership on Capitol Hill.
SPOTTED at Winning for Women Action Fund’s “20 in ‘20” launch (to see 20 GOP women in the House next year): Reps. Elise Stefanik and Susan Brooks, former Rep. Barbara Comstock, Katie Walsh, Parker Poling and Annie Dickerson.
UPDATE — Shelly Porges, who spoke at a recent Women Rule event at Google’s New York City office, hit her goal — raising $1 billion for the Billion Dollar Fund for Women. Learn more
TRANSITIONS — Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield will be the first female president of the U.S. Naval War College. … Anna Pacilio, former communications director for Texas Rep. Marc Veasey, is Beto O’Rourke’s director of women’s messaging. (h/t Daniel Lippman) …
— Shahira Knight, the Trump administration’s former chief legislative liaison to Capitol Hill, is joining the consulting firm Deloitte as a principal next month. (h/t Playbook) … Not quite yet: First Lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham is reportedly a top candidate to replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary.
WOMEN RULE BRUSSELS — Next week, on June 27, POLITICO Playbook co-author and Women Rule Editorial Director Anna Palmer will join our Brussels Summit, where speakers will discuss women’s success, new leadership models and #MeToo’s follow-up in Europe. Speakers include U.K.’s Minister for Digital and Creative Industries Margot James, Malta’s Minister for European Affairs and Equality, Helena Dalli and Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Learn more about the Summit here
WISDOM OF THE WEEK — Mary Walsh, managing director, Animation Research Library at Walt Disney Animation Studios: “My career at Disney Animation did not happen in a straight, linear line and while there were times when the uncertainty of the next step felt uncomfortable, it taught me how to be open to opportunities and how to navigate change. It gave me the courage to trust myself and my skills, and I know it was critical in the development of my self-confidence. My advice to women, who like me, might zig and zag a bit in their careers, is to embrace that journey — it will be challenging, but it can also be exciting and rewarding.” Connect with Mary here
IMPACT PARTNER CONTENT — Kaitlyn Montagna has worked with non-profit organizations in achieving their fundraising goals, building awareness and advancing their missions. As part of a small team, she raised over $10 million for these non-profit organizations in the New England area. As a former member of the She Should Run Virtual Cohort, Kaitlyn shared the fundraising fundamentals she’s picked up over the years, including the top five fundraising tips for anyone considering a run for office and fundraising 101 for beginners. Read Kaitlyn’s advice here
MARKETPLACE — Each month we highlight a female founder by sharing her company’s story. This month, we’re featuring Susan Tynan, founder and CEO of Framebridge, an online custom framing startup.
“You have to believe in your ideas more than anyone else and you have to keep going. If you are at all uncertain about your idea or your ability to execute, the process of starting, funding and scaling your business will weed you out. Your role as the founder is to believe enough for everyone. You have to trust your vision and keep putting one foot in front of the other! That requires both resilience and incredible discipline.” Use code RULEWITHUS to get 15% off your first order with Framebridge. Valid until September 30, 2019.
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