The 162 Report: May 13, 2016

Thanks for reading the second edition of the 162 Report. This bi-monthly tip sheet is a project of SKDKnickerbocker’s Women’s Leadership & Advocacy Practice. You can read more about the new practice here.

We are also hosting regular book series focused on topics relating to leadership and policy and workplace issues. Just yesterday, Dr. Lauren A. Wright, Ph.D. discussed her new book “On Behalf of the President,” which brings a scientific approach to analyzing the nation’s most influential, likable and underutilized surrogate—the First Lady.

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Natural Born Leaders
A recent study co-authored by MIT economist Esther Duflo in Science, based on research conducted in eastern India, found that simply having more local female politicians boosts aspirations and educational achievement among young women. Accordingly, educational opportunities for girls in villages that had a female political leader were significantly greater, as parents were then more likely to see their daughters as equals to their sons. Having strong female role models also impacts how women think about themselves. In fact, research published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that role models of the same gender are more important for women than men. In a study featured in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, male and female students were tasked with giving a public speech. The back wall of a room they spoke in was either black, or featured a picture of Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, or Bill Clinton. When exposed to a picture of either Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel, female students spoke longer, were rated as being better speakers by others, and rated themselves as having spoken better. In government, female politicians often more accurately reflect the beliefs of their constituents and sponsor three more bills per Congress, compared to their male colleagues. In business, companies see an average increase of $42 million in firm value when they have a female CEO. Clearly, women get things done, but we need to break the cycle– in order for more women to run for positions of power, we first need to show them that there is a path to success.

Read more here.


Ending the Silence
Doctor Diane J. Horvath-Cosper, an obstetrician and gynecologist, recently filed a federal civil rights complaint charging that her employer, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, had violated the law by forbidding her to publically defend abortion. Horvath-Cosper came to MedStar in 2014 on a two-year Family Planning Fellowship, which is offered by a national foundation that subsidizes doctors’ salaries at selected hospitals as they pursue advanced training in reproductive medicine. The hospital claims to have made this order with the hopes of preventing any retaliatory violence from anti-abortion advocates. Dr. Horvath-Cosper is part of a national movement of medical professionals who argue that silence only feeds the drive to stigmatize and restrict abortion—“I don’t think the way to deal with bullies is to cower and pull back,” Horvarth-Cosper says. MedStar, however, does not agree, as they have ordered her to turn down requests for interview or articles, or risk losing her job. Last November, Dr. Horvarth-Cosper wrote an article for the Washington Post describing what it was like to live in fear because of her profession. The story generated a lot of buzz and caused MedStar to try to get her to end her public advocacy work. Her lawyer, Debra S. Katz, tried to negotiate an agreement that would allow Horvath-Cosper to write about abortion without mentioning where she works, to which MedStar responded that if she wished to speak about abortion, she should relinquish her fellowship and leave.

Read more here.


Take A Chance
A new comprehensive report, “A Force to Reckon With: Women, Entrepreneurship and Risk” from The Beacon Agency and Carleton University, funded by BMO Bank of Montreal, works to tear down myths about women in business avoiding going out on a limb. The study found that there is a growing body of evidence that challenges the assumption that women entrepreneurs are risk-adverse, which is significant because the number of self-employed women with an incorporated business has increased by 15 percent since 2007, prior to the recession, and it has more than doubled since 1996. The research analyzes motivation and vision to derive conclusions about female entrepreneurial habits, noting that career risks aren’t taken solely with the hopes of a salary increase, but also driven by a desire to find more happiness and meaning. Additionally, it’s clear that gender-based stereotypes create something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, which then influences workplace dynamics, impacting how much responsibility one is granted according to their gender. Creative and innovative leaders know that “if they wait until the stars align to pursue their ambitions and dreams, they will never get started. The best time to begin is usually now, learning as they go.”

Read more here.


All of the *Heart Eyes*
Google announced that it wants to add 13 emojis to represent women in professional roles within the next year. “Isn’t it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?” said the proposal for this new selection of emojis. The proposed emojis include women in business and health care roles, at factories and on farms, among other things—a much appreciated addition to the current selection, which portrays women as brides or princesses, painting their nails, getting a haircut, or dancing in a red dress.

Read more here.


  • Caroline Paul, author of the forthcoming book, “The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure,” pens an op-ed in the New York Times about her experiences as a firefighter and teaching women fear.
  • As an African American, female CEO of a startup, Sarah Kunst speaks to the necessity of increasing diversity in business and how we can go about doing so in an article in Fortune.
  • The Guardian reports on new research findings that assert the software repository GitHub approved code written by women at a higher rate than code written by men, but only if the gender was not disclosed.
  • Harvard Business Review and The Washington Post cover the impossible expectations we set for Hillary Clinton and all women in positions of power and authority.
  • Ever wonder what it’s like to be a working mom at the White House? Elle gives us the scoop with profiles of a number of leading ladies.
  • Last week professional fastpitch softball payer, Monica Abbott became the first woman in U.S. team sports to sign a contract that is expected to be worth $1 million, as reported by CNN Money.