The 162 Report: September 16, 2016

Thanks for reading the tenth edition of the 162 Report, a bi-monthly tip sheet from SKDKnickerbocker’s new Women’s Leadership & Advocacy Practice. Know someone who would enjoy the 162 Report? Anyone can subscribe by emailing us at


The White House Boy’s Club

Men have had a monopoly on the Oval Office for well over 200 years. They have dominated the White House as top aides, department heads, and senior advisers. Women have historically struggled to get their foot in the door, let alone a seat at the table.

The White House is an intense work environment and most aides last less than three years. As late as the Eisenhower era, the only women in the White House were secretaries and they weren’t even allowed to eat in the same dining area as the men they served.

Women have no doubt gained influence in the White House over the years, but it has been an uphill battle. Even as they began to fill high-level positions, the male dominated system acted against them. President Bush’s Chief of Staff attempted to instate a 24/7 work-week, a nightmare for working mothers.

When President Obama took office, over two-thirds of his top aides were men. Few women had access to the President. Former White House Communications Director and one of SKDK’s own Managing Directors Anita Dunn said, “If you didn’t come in from the campaign, it was a tough circle to break into.”

In the Obama administration, female staffers established a strategy to amplify their voices. They would repeat any key points made by another woman and credit her. This forced the men in the room to recognize the idea and rendered them incapable of taking credit. Women have also begun to take advantage of new benefits instituted under the Obama administration including 12 weeks of paid medical and family leave.

Women’s role in the West Wing will likely continue to expand if Hillary clinton is elected president, officially breaking the White House glass ceiling. Clinton would likely bring in female staffers to fill many top aide positions, and could even hire the first female chief of staff.

Read more here.


“Make Love, Not Scars”

After an acid attack left her scarred at the age of 17, Reshma Quereshi has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about this horrific crime that still occurs on a regular basis in India. The attack caused her to lose her left eye and suffer severe burns to her face but through the help of the foundation Make Love, Not Scars Quereshi found the “courage to live on and to do something.”

Now two years later, Quereshi is taking New York Fashion Week by storm, walking down the runway for Indian designer Archana Kochhar, to empower other survivors like her.

“This walk was important to me because there are so many girls like me who are survivors of acid attacks, and this will give them courage,” Quereshi said.

Quereshi also modeled for Vaishali Couture as part of FTL Moda’s mission to #TakeBeautyBack, a collaboration with Global Disability Inclusion and Fashion Week Online.

Read more about Quereshi’s Fashion Week debut click here.


The Inconvenient Truth

You know the argument that women don’t make as much as men because they don’t push for it? That they’re worried about appearing too aggressive or upsetting the boss? A recent study by Cass Business School and the University of Warwick in partnership with the University of Wisconsin found that men are 25% more likely to get a raise when they ask.

According to Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick and one of the study’s authors, “Having seen these findings, I think we have to accept that there is some element of pure discrimination against women.”

The study was based on 4600 workers from over 800 employers in Australia, the only country that collects data on when citizens ask for raises and whether they get them. The study’s authors point out that the behavior is likely to be the same in other countries with big economies like the US and UK.

While the article tries to cushion the blow with the finding that women under 40 have become more successful than older females at negotiating higher pay, other statistics emphasize the massive levels of inequality that remain. According to the World Economic Forum, women still get paid less than men in every country in the world, and this gap won’t close in our lifetime. Not for another 118 years to be exact. And according to a study by Chartered Management Institute, male managers can expect to be 40% more likely than female managers to get a promotion.

This study demonstrates that the wage gap isn’t an issue of women failing to be assertive or ambitious. It’s a result of institutionalized and systemic discrimination. Read more here.


Nothing But Net

Never heard of netball? Well now’s the time to put it sport on your radar.

The women’s Australian Netball Players Association just signed a “landmark” agreement between netball’s governing body, the players’ association and eight clubs in a new league.

Now women athletes in this elite sport will be making an unprecedented salary for the industry, with a total payment pool of $5.4 million. Keep in mind that ten years ago, the average wage was less than $1,000 a year.

Players who become pregnant or become injured will be guaranteed 100% of their income for two years, and players with young children will also benefit from a parental care policy.

These Australian women are paving the way for women in sports to be just as highly paid and fully professional as men. To read more click here.


More Than Mrs. 

If you want to up your chances of winning an Oscar as a woman, you should probably play a wife. 16% of the winners who won the Best Actress prize did so for playing a wife or their roles defined by their relationship to their husbands.

That’s not the case with this year’s Emmy nominees. Out of ten nominees, only three are married, and all are nominated for playing strong and complex women.

Read more about this year’s Best Actress Emmy nominees here.