The 162 Report: June 3, 2016

Thanks for reading the third edition of the 162 Report, a bi-monthly tip sheet from SKDKnickerbocker’s new Women’s Leadership & Advocacy Practice.

This week, we’re excited to introduce a sports section to the 162 Report. Female athletes all over the world are leveling the playing field in the traditionally male-dominated industry, making notable strides in basketball and golf toward eliminating existing gender inequality and increasing female representation. We are proud to cheer them on!

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Hometown Hero
“I am running because I believe in representative democracy. We are 51% female and 35% under age 30, and the fact that there has never been a woman under 30 elected, to me, is troublesome. The decisions being made today will disproportionately affect us. Yet we have no voice at that decision-making table.” So said Erin Schrode, a 25-year-old Democrat running to be one of California’s next members of Congress. If elected, Schrode would be the youngest person in all of Congress and the only twentysomething in the U.S. House of Representatives.

An activist and speaker who has spearheaded her own nonprofits championing environmental issues and educational resources, Schrode faces tough competition from a well-known incumbent with a powerful backing from the state party, Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman. Schrode and Huffman will compete alongside two additional candidates in a four-way primary, before two of the four Democratic candidates advance to the general election in November. Schrode cites women’s rights as an area of policy warranting change, specifically in how it relates to equality of opportunity, in instances such as pay gap. Her campaign—which Schrode refers to as “magical madness”—is helping to redefine how individuals can engage in policy and advocacy initiatives. “You can start at home,” Schrode says, “and when you start, when you do something, anything, that is empowering.”

Read more here.


Robin Wright, otherwise known as Claire Underwood on “House of Cards” (did you know she also played Jenny in Forrest Gump?), negotiated a pay raise that would make her salary for the Netflix drama equal to that of her co-star Kevin Spacey. She reported leveraging her power by threatening to go public about pay inequality. Recently at a Rockefeller Foundation event in New York, Wright said she’d learned that the two characters—Claire and Frank Underwood—were equally popular among viewers. Her response? “I capitalized on it.”

In 2014, Wright won a Golden Globe Award for best actress for her work on the show, while Spacey won the following year for best actor. Alongside Ms. Wright are a number of other female actresses, such as Jennifer Lawrence, speaking publically about the necessity of equal pay within the industry and beyond, working to pave the way for future generations of more phenomenal female actors to come.

Read more here.


Randi the Rockstar
In reflecting on her time at Facebook as head of consumer marketing , Randi Zuckerberg highlights the “intellectual dynamism” of Silicon Valley, and the tech industry that dominates the region. In an op-ed she penned for Vogue,  Zuckerberg recounts, “Silicon Valley in the early 2000s was intoxicating. The trifecta of top engineering schools in the Bay Area led to top startups, which led to big investor dollars, creating an ecosystem that simply could not be replicated elsewhere.” However, the competitive culture left no room for personal passions, and life became a sprint instead of a marathon. Despite holding the fondest of memories for her Facebook years, Zuckerberg left the company in 2011 to pursue her own endeavors. It was then that she began to see a trend— “[w]hile we were seeing a greater number of female founders…stories about their difficulties in raising money were common”— to which she responded by investing in tech products and apps that were aimed at new mothers, women in male-dominated fields, and encouraging coding and STEM studies for girls. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg and her family were feeling pressure from the responsibility of owning and maintaining a home and cars, and longing for “smaller, simpler city living.”

So when the producers of Rock of Ages, an eighties musical on Broadway reached out to Zuckerberg in their pursuit of a new guest star who would bring a social-media audience, she jumped at the opportunity to return to the city; flooded with memories of her childhood dreams to sing on Broadway to performing in her a cappella group at Harvard, and everything in between. After several fantastic weeks of performing, Zukerberg was struck by the realization that New York has always had all of the scrappy grit needed to tackle Silicon Valley, while also possessing a vast sense of culture, unique to the urban hub that is NYC. In such an environment, Zuckerberg writes that she is now able to put the “two different ways of thinking together—the innovative, visionary minds of Silicon Valley, and the gritty, scrappy New York spirit…and [she] still sing[s] at every opportunity”.

Read more here.


Out of the Park!
Jennie Finch, former Olympic great, is now set to become the first female manager in professional baseball history. Finch will serve as guest manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish when they host the Maryland Blue Crabs this weekend in Connecticut, a move that was announced in March. Finch is a big name in the sports world due to her stellar career as a softball pitcher for the Arizona Wildcats, with whom she secured the 2001 national title. With the U.S. Olympic team, Finch won a gold medal in 2004, and a silver at the Beijing Games in 2008. Even after the Olympics, Finch was one of softball’s most vocal advocates, though the International Olympic Committee’s removal of the sport from the Games in 2005. Although Finch’s role with the Bluefish is temporary, it has the potential to have a resounding impact on numerous efforts nationwide to promote greater gender equality within the sports industry. Finch’s pro baseball coaching career comes just over a week after Fox released promos for the upcoming show “Pitch,” which will depict a fictional version of the first female MLB player.

Read more here.


Graduation Roundup

  • Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, addressed graduates at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, urging them to be “troublemakers who change lives.”
  • At Suffolk University, Senator Elizabeth Warren advised graduates to not be “so focused in your plans that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected” and made sure to jab at Trump as well, remarking: “How’s this speech polling so far—higher or lower than Donald Trump’s unfavorable numbers with women?”
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America and a former president of the American Society of International Law, spoke to Barnard College grads about the nature of contemporary feminism and the necessity of coming together across generational and racial lines for the betterment of humanity; citing and discussing medalist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book “We Should All Be Feminists” in an effort to further echo the importance of unity in enacting tangible and sustainable change.


  • The New York Times reports that when more women are on boards, executive pay is higher, citing a 2015 analysis by Equilar which found that among 100 large companies, those with greater gender diversity on their boards paid their chief executives about 15 percent more, which amounted to about two million dollars.
  • A female entrepreneur discusses how being the only woman at a startup affected how she worked both within the office and with herself in this Vox article.
  • Fortune highlights a new effort from female tech leaders called Project Include, to spearhead a new group to fix Silicon Valley’s diversity problem.
  • Attica Scott, the first black woman to be elected to the Kentucky State Legislature in nearly 20 years, discusses with Glamour her win in Kentucky’s three-way primary defeating a 34-year incumbent, and the decidedly different voice she’ll bring to her state’s government.
  • Vogue looks at female journalists’ role in campaign reporting and how gendered language impacts critics and supporters alike.
  • Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, best known for filibustering a Texas abortion bill in pink sneakers, spoke with Refinery29 about her latest project: Deeds Not Words, an effort aimed at connecting “passionate women to resources, policy-making tools, and each other.”
  • Fusion analyzes why colleges don’t offer the abortion pill, arguing that colleges need to take a more progressive and active approach to women’s reproductive health.