I need a list.
That’s what I thought after reading an interview with BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay, which appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. In it, Kay is promoting her book, The Confidence Code, co-authored with Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for Good Morning America. In this excerpt, Kay is talking about Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund.
“[Lagarde] got so fed up of men coming up to her and saying, you know we’d love to have more women at the top of companies, or we’d love to have more women running things, but we just can’t find the good candidates. This annoyed her so much that she wrote down a list of 10 really good women, qualified women, and put it in her purse. Every time a man came up to her and said, “It’s such a shame we can’t find a qualified woman,” out would come the list.”
More lists like that, and I’ll bet more than a measly 4.6 percent of the Fortune 500 would have women CEOs. More lists like that, and we’d have more women running influential companies of all stripes, not just public ones. More lists like that, and more than 17 percent of the members of Fortune 500 boards would be women. Mitt Romney may have had “binders full of women” but if they don’t make it out of the binders and onto payroll, it makes little difference.
1. Duck! Best comeback line goes to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was giving a speech in Las Vegas at a meeting of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries when a woman in the audience threw a shoe at her. Clinton ducked and quipped, “My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial.” And then added, “Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did." The woman who allegedly threw the shoe hasn’t said why she felt the need to toss footwear at Clinton, who has also said she is considering running for president. Maybe it was a running shoe?
2. Two cents on 77 cents. President Obama has been citing a statistic on the wage gap between men and women, saying that “a woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns…in 2014, that’s an embarrassment. It is wrong.” We agree it’s wrong, but the Washington Post Fact Checker has a different take on what’s wrong – saying that the wage gap number isn’t as high as 77 cents and the president should stop citing it. We’re not going to get into a political discussion except to say that arguing over the number seems beside the point. The question we should all be asking is why, in 2014, there’s any kind of wage gap between men and women at all.
3. Recommended reading. The Pulitzer Prize was awarded this week to newspapers, magazines, authors, photographers and cartoonists, and it’s a reminder of how much good work is still being done at a time when media companies are struggling retain staff and produce original work. If you’re looking for compelling stories to read, we recommend Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow’s series about food stamps in America. Also of note, the photo essay by The New York Times’ Josh Haner about Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings, which took place a year ago this week. The Boston Globe staff also won a Pulitzer for its breaking news reporting of the bombings. And the prize for fiction, in case you’re looking for a new book to read, went to Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch.