Conundrum: Last in first out
Betrayal of the American vagina, Edition 60
I’m so excited to share my friend and fellow former Co-Chair of Fortune Most Powerful Women International Nina Easton, her amazing fellow board members, and the team of non-profit Vital Voices have opened what is being called an embassy for women in Washington DC.
Established in 1997 by then First Lady Hillary Clinton and the late U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Vital Voices invests in women leaders across the globe who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges – from gender-based violence to the climate crisis, economic inequities, and more. The non-profit plans to use the 16th Street building for its Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. I hope I’ll be getting an invite — hint hint! (Story: ABC 7 News)
Working in 2022
This week, I was chatting with Lynda Gratton, a woman who knows the ins and outs of organisational behaviour about a battle for talent around the world, and across sectors. We were trying to figure out what our conversation at an event later this month should focus on. She is after all THE global expert on the future of work and also professor of management practice at London Business School.
The conundrum we plan to break down. That on one hand we’re seeing a demand for flexibility and autonomy from employees. On the other, the rumblings over past few months from bosses in tech, law, banking, finance and even defence — that it is getting harder to tempt people to move from their gigs, whether they’re happy or not. To fill the myriad of roles available, it seems you have to pay well above the market and throw in bonuses and all sorts to tempt people through the door for an interview. Even then your prospective hire is likely to ghost you.
The most surprising thing Lynda said to me was that this wasn’t just a ‘western’ phenomenon. The change, and the conundrum is similar across global talent markets.
So, what the heck is going on? Is it just the fear of an oncoming car crash of a recession? Are people battening down the hatches, afraid to be ‘last in first out’ in the coming months? Or have we truly changed for good as employees, after Covid triggered ‘The Great Resignation’? More importantly, are we as leaders prepped for this change, and if not, how do we prepare now?
Lynda has a new book hot off the presses, “Redesigning Work: How to Transform Your Organisation and Make Hybrid Work for Everyone.” Much to her delight it was snapped up by every CEO who attended last week’s Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit. I guess even the bosses of the world’s top companies are feeling a tad lost about how to cope.
If you and your company need a little guidance on how to navigate what feels like a new frontier, grab a copy! ‘Redesigning Work’ is available on Amazon. Note: Lynda did not pay or ask me to promote her book, I simply find her work ground-breaking, insightful and globally relevant! (Though in hindsight, maybe I should tell her she owes me a drink ;-)
Business of Governance
As historic as The Good Friday Agreement
Her name may not be familiar to folks outside Ireland and Northern Ireland (NI), but you’re going to hear it a lot from now on in. Michelle O'Neill is set to become a force to reckon with in political circles in the U.K. and in Europe. She is the deputy leader of Sinn Fein, the staunchly nationalist/republican, former political wing of the IRA. She is also now NI’s First Minister elect, with a historic election win against the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which has held the post since 2007.
Per the BBC: A unionist (pro-British) party has always been the largest in the NI assembly/previously the parliament, since NI's formation in 1921. Sinn Fein’s 27 seats now makes it the biggest party in NI, versus the pro-British DUP party down to just 24. Michelle’s role isn’t the only one to highlight — More than 1/3rd of the MLAs elected to the NI assembly are women. Thirty-two of the 90 MLAs are female, compared with 27 who were elected in 2017.
45 year old Michelle has talked candidly about her learnings as a teenage mother, her family’s brutal history with the IRA, and her view that the people of NI are tired of divisive language. In a 2020 joint interview with the DUP’s Arlene Foster, then the first minister - Michelle spoke of their "common ground" as mothers and daughters. “I think sometimes people think politicians are a people apart, that somehow we live a different reality, but our reality is the same as everybody else's.”
Michelle is a staunch believer (as you’d expect from a leader of Sinn Fein) that Westminster will never prioritise NI, especially post Brexit. Upon the announcement of the historic win, she laid out what can be expected from the new guard in the NI Assembly: “The people have spoken, and our job is now to turn up. I expect others to turn up also,” She has stressed the new government must tackle foremost a cost-of-living crisis in the U.K. But has added that a “healthy conversation is already underway” about Irish reunification, and the party is targeting a referendum in the next five years.
You can get a little more perspective on who Michelle is, in this electoral win interview with Sky News.
Betrayal of the American vagina
Sarah Weddington was 26 years old when she went to bat in the Supreme Court for women’s right to an abortion. She won her case when the court ruled that a Texas state law banning abortions except to save a woman’s life was unconstitutional. Unless you have been hiding under a rock for decades, you know that case is called Roe Vs. Wade. Sarah spent a lifetime fighting for women’s rights and died in December 2021. In May 2022, someone leaked the draft of the U.S. Supreme Court potentially overturning that landmark decision.
Five years ago, in a radio interview Sarah had said she was worried Roe could be overturned:
“I'm worried about that. And partly because Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who's one of the advocates for women being able to make their own decisions, is 83. Another couple of the judges who are late 70s. One judge I'm concerned about, but not frantic about, whereas if you ended up with several new judges then that really concerns me, because if you look at who would be appointing them, who would be confirming them, we could have a situation where we might not be able to keep a majority.” — Sarah Weddington in an interview by Kathleen McNerney & Meghna Chakrabarti — 2017 Radio Boston
Her fears came true. RBG died, and 6 out of the 9 justices are now conservative appointees. And they’ve been decidedly voting to the right on some critical cases since they got majority. One of the justices even has a spouse accused of trying to overturn the U.S. elections on Jan 6th, 2021. (Story: New Yorker),
Who leaked the draft? And why leak it now? Those are the questions on everyone’s mind — considering the massive human rights implication of what an overturn would mean.
With abortion rights handed back to State legislation, women in 25 (of 50) states would immediately lose the right to decide what to do with their own bodies. Then there is the domino effect on other civil liberties that have been ruled on, with similar arguments. Let’s top that off with the less spoken about but glaringly obvious economic impact — in the states that will or have banned abortion, the law will probably fall foul of the ESG rules for investments, putting into question the future of businesses in those states.
It turns out the original case decision was also leaked in 1973. (Story: NPR). But what’s thrown everyone for a loop is that Politico got the leaked draft ruling (Story: Politico, with the original 98 page draft ruling for your reading pleasure) making it a real head scratcher — was it a hack, an angry young clerk, or what conspiracy theorists are betting on — a political ploy.
But which side (Republican/Democrat) wanted this leaked ahead of critical mid-term elections and who’d benefit? If either side thought this would sway people, or make them turn out in heavy numbers, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows if this was a strategy, it didn’t work! You’d think the language of this draft would get young people fired up. But the furore of protests hasn’t translated to much of a movement in the mid-term landscape which remains muted, with the Republicans holding a narrow edge over Democrats, and young people still not enthusiastic about exercising their vote. (Story: CNN)
You’d think living a real-life Handmaid’s tale might be impetus enough to trek down to the ballot box. Authored by conservative judge Samuel Alito the draft is far, far worse than what anyone expected from even an overwhelmingly conservative majority of judges. (Who is Justice Samuel Alito)
Don’t get me started on the racism in the opinion and trust me I’m not alone in being shocked! Then there is the quoting of Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice of England from 1671-1676 to justify positions. This is a guy who has been dead for more than 300 years, who hated abortion, supported marital rape and thought women needed to be burnt at the stake for witchcraft (his rulings in England were pivotal in the Salem witch trials too). An all-round puritanical nice guy! (Story: Britannica) Just the man to justify Samuel Alito’s opinions in modern day America. (Story: The Cut)
You’d have thought Justice Alito would have based his draft on arguments fit for purpose in a G-1 country in the 21st century. Especially a country trying to convince the world teetering on the brink of war with Russia, that it is still the ‘leader of the free world’. As one ‘man’ told me this week — Alito’s arguments show there isn’t much difference between the West and it’s posturing as enlightened and forward looking, versus theocratic rule in countries like Iran.
I guess Sarah was right. RBG is very much missed right now!
On another note, in the U.S.:
A historic appointment
US President Joe Biden has appointed 44-year-old Karine Jean-Pierre as the next White House press secretary. She becomes the first black woman and openly gay person to serve in the role. So, who is Karine Jean-Pierre? Full Story: ABC News.
Business of business
LinkedIn for equal pay
686 women got less pay than their male colleagues at LinkedIn’s San Francisco office and in its Sunnyvale, California HQ between 2015-2017. The ladies in question worked in the company’s engineering, marketing and product divisions.
Now the company has to shell out $1.8 million to compensate them thanks to a deal struck with the U.S. Department of Labour ($1.75 million in back pay and more than $50,000 in interest). LinkedIn has also agreed to send the agency reports over the next 3 years as it re-evaluates and adjusts its compensation policies and has agreed to run an employee training program on “non-discrimination obligations.” (Story: New York Times)
The U.S. government agency’s statement says the deal will make LinkedIn realise it’s responsibilities as a federal employer/contractor - U.S. Department of Labour Statement
Claiming equal pay between its white and employees of colour and their white counterparts; with women being paid $0.999 to every $1.00 in 2021, the employer of 19,000 people world wide’s stance is a tad different: “While we have agreed to settle this matter, we do not agree with the government’s claim.” - LinkedIn Statement
Business of Fashion
25 year anniversaries are a good excuse to strut your stuff. You made it this far, right? That’s exactly what 20 designers got to do with their Spring/Summer 2022 collections at the at the 25th South Africa Fashion Week in Jo-Berg. (Story: BoF)
The show stopper though was Thando Munku Ntuli whose brand Munkus won the talent search competition at SA Fashion Week against 4 others. The winning formula was her collection named ‘Sisendleleni’, meaning “we are on our way”. Each look in her show was named “ME” (me, mina, nna, mna, nne, mine, we) in various South African languages and ending with “We”. (Story: Sunday World)
Have you met
Priscilla Eleje, Deputy director, Central Bank of Nigeria
Pricilla is the first female Director, Currency Operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). She was appointed as the Director of Currency Operations in 2018 making her the first female to hold that position in the bank’s 59 years history and the first female to have her signature on the Naira note.
NRL’s loss is female rugby's gain
Karyn Murphy has been appointed as Australia’s ‘Gold Coast Titans’ rugby club’s Director of Female Rugby League. The National Rugby League Integrity Unit’s senior investigator, Karyn Murphy, quit her role in a surprise move critics say will leave misbehaving NRL stars breathing a sigh of relief.
The former female captain had a playing career spanning 15 years that included four World Cup campaigns, 27 games for Australia and 20 games for Queensland. She is also a decorated former senior police inspector. (Story: The Sporting News)
On the move
In the Netherlands
Gillian Tans has been appointed President of VanMoof, which claims to be the world’s fastest growing e-bike brand. She was previously CEO of Booking.com. During her 20 year tenure there, Gillian oversaw the company’s massive expansion from a Dutch start-up to becoming the world’s leading online travel agency.
In the U.K.
Caroline Drucker has been appointed VP Marketing and Commercial Operations at Photomath, the popular app used to solve math equations. She was previously Director of Strategic Partnerships EMEA at Instagram.
Sharan Jaswal has been appointed General Counsel APAC at Dentsu. She was previously at ESPN Star Sports and Yahoo!. She joined dentsu in 2015 as Senior Regional Counsel was made Deputy General Counsel, APAC in 2018. A vocal DEI advocate Sharan founded Women@dentsu in Singapore in 2018 and currently co-leads the Women Empowerment pillar of dentsu’s DEI strategy in the region.