Seriously, you can’t make this sh*t up. “New Zealand council ends contract with wizard after two decades of service” is an actual real headline about an actual real thing that happened. The country’s official wizard, Ian Brackenbury Channell, ran into controversy in April when he made “off-colour comments about women” on a national news show, including a joke about violence towards women, which we’d venture to say is a bit more than off-color. Channell was paid $368,000 over 23 years for “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services” before he was taken off New Zealand’s payroll. Finally, a vanishing spell that works.
News to note 📝
Ugh, it’s harassment-o’clock. Again. Here’s the roundup: The World Bank is under fire for mishandling sexual harassment claims against a senior official who is now running for president in Costa Rica [WSJ]. In Germany, a top editor at the popular tabloid Bild, which is owned by Axel Springer (parent company of Politico and Insider), was ousted after the New York Times revealed a pattern of sexual harassment allegations against him [NYT]. And in Los Angeles, female firefighters allege a toxic culture of harassment, abuse and retaliation [LAist]. Meanwhile, the sexual misconduct claims against Matt Lauer are new news again, with former Today Show anchor Katie Couric calling Lauer’s alleged behavior “disgusting” during an appearance on her old show to promote her new memoir, “Going There” [VF]. And the harassment claims against Bill Gates are also back in the headlines, with reports that Microsoft’s board of directors knew about his inappropriate conduct more than a decade ago, when he was still an employee and board chair [WSJ].
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Interrupting male Supreme Court Justice. Interrupting male— Overruled! Men interrupting women is something of a trope, and apparently it happens at the highest levels of the court system, too. Things were so bad that the Supreme Court changed its rules on oral arguments to specify that the justices ask their questions individually. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the most interrupted justice in the court, according to a study by researcher Tonja Jacobi, and Chief Justice John Roberts is the main offender. We’re gonna need the men in the room to step up and tell their peers (politely) to STFU. 😇[Guardian]
Speaking of the Supremes, SCOTUS decided (again) to let the Texas abortion law stand, but will hear oral arguments in November. The Biden administration’s bid to block the state’s six-week ban on abortions was not successful; however, the Supreme Court agreed to an expedited review of the controversial law. Rather than focusing directly on the constitutionality of the legislation, SCOTUS will look at whether the Department of Justice is allowed to challenge the law in court, as well as the law’s unusual enforcement structure, which deputizes private citizens to enforce it. [CNN]
Yesterday was Latina Equal Pay Day, the latest of all Equal Pay Days. Fifty-seven cents on the dollar — that’s how little Latinx women make compared to white men, lower than all other women across ethnic groups. Another stunning number: $1 million: That’s about how much Latinas lose in a lifetime because of the pay gap. The pandemic has only exacerbated the issue, with this demographic especially hard hit by the double impact of unemployment and exposure to Covid as frontline workers, service workers and caregivers. The solution? A better safety net (like paid leave, a child tax credit and universal preschool, perhaps?). [The Lily, Forbes]
Say it ain’t so: Paid leave might be on the chopping block. You know it’s serious when the Duchess of Sussex herself (AKA Meghan Markle) gets involved. She wrote a letter to democratic leaders urging them not to compromise on paid family leave as part of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill currently under negotiation in Congress. While the initial plan would give workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave, President Biden is reportedly set to cut that number down to only four weeks as part of an attempt to get the legislation passed. And if you’re wondering why “paternity leave” is trending on Twitter, conservative pundits are busy criticizing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave to care for his twins, to which our response is, lol, wut. [NYT, NPR, Washingtonian]
Speaking of 👆, the U.S. just adopted a national gender strategy for the first time. A White House press release says that the exacerbated inequality wrought by the pandemic “requires that we acknowledge and address longstanding gender discrimination and the systemic barriers to full participation that have held back women and girls.” The strategy identified 10 key priorities, ranging from economic security and healthcare access to physical safety. We’ll be watching to see what happens with the Build Back Better plan before we issue a ruling on whether the administration’s promise that “this strategy is not just words on paper” is accurate. [Fortune]
Numbers to know 🔢
75% of women receive negative comments about their personalities on work evaluations versus 2 percent of men. Repetitive instances of everyday sexism (like this one) have a devastating impact on women’s career advancement.
61% of men think that women and men have equal job opportunities, while only 33 percent of women share that sentiment. Women’s satisfaction with their treatment in society is at an all-time low.
30% of all S&P 500 directors are now women and one-third of all new independent directors are Black. Looks like equity efforts are maybe finally starting to pay off in the boardroom?
And just like that…
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