The meeting with two trans women that might have helped convince the Arkansas governor to oppose the anti-trans bill

Trans rights
People take part in rally outside New York’s Stonewall Inn in 2017.

  • Arkansas has become the first state to block transition-related care for trans youth.
  • Gov. Hutchinson said he met with trans people before deciding to reject the bill, though lawmakers overrode his veto.
  • The state’s only openly trans elected official spoke to Insider about her meeting with the governor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shortly before Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would make Arkansas the first state to block transition-related care for trans youth, he sat down with two trans women to better understand its impact.

On Tuesday afternoon, the state legislature voted to override Hutchinson’s veto, paving the way for it to take effect if the law survives legal challenges. Still, the governor’s veto a day earlier came as a surprise to many LGBTQ advocates around the country, as Hutchinson had already signed two other anti-trans bills, one banning trans girls from girl’s scholastic sports, and the other a sweeping religious exemption for health care providers who can now turn away LGBTQ patients for non-emergencies.

An account of the meeting between the Republican governor, the state’s only openly trans elected official, and an 18-year-old trans women may shed some light on Hutchinson’s surprising opposition to the bill.

The meeting, on March 30, was expected to last 30 minutes, according to Evelyn Rios Stafford, a Justice of the Peace in Fayetteville, who is openly trans.

But the governor had so many questions that it ran 10 minutes long, she said.

“He had a lot of questions,” Rios Stafford told Insider. “I could tell that this was not an issue that he was super familiar with at all.”

A spokesperson for the governor did not respond to questions about the meeting, but Hutchinson has said that he met with trans people and healthcare providers before reaching his decision. The young trans woman who was also present was not immediately available to discuss it.

Rios Stafford said that, as she watched the governor’s press conference less than a week after they had sat across from one another, she heard him echo some of what had come up in their closed-door meeting.

“The bill is overbroad, extreme, and does not grandfather those who are under hormone treatment,” Hutchinson said during his press conference. “I want people in Arkansas and across the country that whether they’re transgender or otherwise, that they’re loved, they’re appreciated, they make part of our state, and we want to send the message of tolerance and diversity.”

The message meant a lot to Rios Stafford, who said she can’t remember a southern Republican governor ever saying that trans people are loved, important members of the state.

Arkansas’ bill, HB 1570, bans puberty blockers and other transition-related care for trans minors. But it is not just limited to harming trans kids, and introduces a host of further restrictions on care for trans adults. It bans state funds, such as Medicaid, from being used towards transition care for trans people of any age.

Studies have shown that puberty blockers help relieve dysphoria triggered by an adolescent’s puberty, and vastly improves mental health overall. The treatment is widely accepted within the medical community, with endorsements from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Endocrine Society, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

The March 30 meeting was set up by Nicole Clowney, a Democratic state Representative from Fayetteville, Rios Stafford said.

She said that while she was used to meetings with other elected officials being super policy-focused, she was a bit nervous to speak with the governor about an issue that was so personal to her. But she was encouraged that the governor asked specifically how the trans community has been feeling, given all of the hostility of this legislative session.

“He asked how the trans community is reacting to all the bills that the legislature is sending his way,” she said, and told the governor about the community’s anxiety. “Honestly, they’re worried,” she explained. “They don’t know what else is coming down the pipeline.”

Rios Stafford said she explained to the governor that the bill would make life unlivable for a lot of trans people in Arkansas, and that she had been hearing from a lot of folks who are planning to flee the state as soon as possible. “I think that pained him a little bit to hear that,” she said.

The young trans woman told her story of coming out and transitioning in her Arkansas high school, and how she worried the wave of bills passed by state lawmakers would signal a green light for cisgender kids to bully and alienate trans kids.

The governor brought up specific medical questions about the treatments given to trans kids to treat gender dysphoria, Rios Stafford was able to answer some of those questions, but said she deferred to medical experts on others.

At one point during the meeting, Rios Stafford tried to appeal to the governor’s political values as a libertarian and a conservative.

“I was like, ‘Governor, I thought Republicans were supposed to be the party of small government,'” she said, noting that the governor smiled at that comment. “A lot of these bills are reaching down into the classrooms between teachers and their students. They’re reaching down in between families and their doctors. They’re reaching in between coaches and their teams. This is big government.”

Rios Stafford said she emerged from the meeting cautiously optimistic, but prepared for the governor to sign the bill anyway.

“The fact that he asked how the trans community is reacting, at least shows that he acknowledges the existence of the trans community,” Rios Stafford said.

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Closing the global gender gap will take an extra 36 years due to the impact of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum said

Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women's Strike Assembly on International Women's Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.
Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women’s Strike Assembly on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.

  • Closing the gender pay gap will take an extra 36 years, the World Economic Forum said Tuesday.
  • The prediction has climbed from 100 years to 136 years because of the impact of the pandemic.
  • 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Achieving global gender parity will take an extra 36 years because of the coronavirus pandemic, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report said.

Previously, the WEF estimated that the gender pay gap could take around 100 years to close. It’s now increased its prediction to nearly 136 years.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that the health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed,” the report said.

The WEF calculated worldwide gender parity through economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and education across 156 countries.

It will take around 146 years to attain gender equality in politics, and 268 years for men and women to get the same salary for similar work, the report said. It added that the data doesn’t yet fully reflect the impact of the pandemic, which could extend the gaps further.

Gender parity has improved in the education sector, taking another 14 years to completely close, and the gap in health between men and women will take a similar amount of time.

The WEF report cited the International Labour Organization (ILO) that said 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men. There was also a decline in hiring women into senior positions, according to LinkedIn data.

“There is a persistent lack of women in leadership positions, with women representing only 27% of all manager positions,” the report said.

Sectors such as cloud computing, engineering, data and AI are more likely to have gender gaps as the uptake of women for these kinds of jobs is fairly low, the WEF added.

Read more: Here’s how to find out if you’re underpaid at work, and the exact script to use when asking your boss for a salary increase

WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi wrote in the report: “The hardest-hit sectors by lockdowns and rapid digitalization are those where women are more frequently employed.”

“Combined with the additional pressures of providing care in the home, the crisis has halted progress toward gender parity in several economies and industries,” she said.

Zahidi added that she hoped the report would be a “call to action” for countries to focus on gender equality in the post-pandemic recovery.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly earnings for men who were older than 16 and working full-time was $408 compared to $251 for women – that’s 61.5% of a man’s weekly earnings. This has increased to 81.7% in the third quarter of 2020.

Insider reported in March that the gender wage gap in the US varies widely by state, city and race, with Black and Hispanic women facing the largest pay gap in comparison to non-Hispanic white men’s earnings.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pinterest has paid $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination suit from former executive Francoise Brougher, who claimed she was fired after speaking up

Francoise Brougher
Francoise Brougher, former COO of Pinterest, filed a lawsuit against the company in August. Now, it will pay $22.5 million to settle the claims.

  • Pinterest on Monday paid $22.5 million to end a lawsuit brought by Francoise Brougher, its former chief operating officer, who alleged gender discrimination.
  • Brougher claimed she was paid less than male colleagues and that she was excluded from meetings.
  • Pinterest admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. It and Brougher will jointly donate $2.5 million of the settlement to programs supporting women and underrepresented communities in tech.
  • Brougher and her attorneys will receive $20 million.
  • “I’m glad Pinterest took this very seriously,” Brougher said in an interview with the Times. “I’m hoping it’s a first step in creating a better work environment there.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Social media platform Pinterest on Monday paid $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by Francoise Brougher, its former chief operating officer.

After two years in the COO role, Brougher suddenly left Pinterest in April, without explanation. Four months later, she filed a lawsuit against the company in a San Francisco court, claiming she “was treated unfairly because of my gender.”

Brougher said in the lawsuit that she was paid less than her male peers, that the company excluded her from meetings, and that she wasn’t invited to attend the corporate road show in the runup to Pinterest’s IPO in 2019.

The photo-sharing site and Brougher said Monday they planned to jointly donate $2.5 million of the settlement to organizations that support women and underrepresented minorities in tech, with a focus on education, funding and advocacy, per The New York Times. The donations are expected to be made by the end of 2020.

Brougher and her attorneys will receive $20 million.

In the suit, Brougher, 55, claimed she was fired following a heated exchange with Pinterest’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld, about her treatment at the company.

The lawsuit said Morgenfeld made disparaging comments about her in front of colleagues and gave her feedback that she considered sexist, saying she wasn’t “collaborative enough.”

After she complained about Morgenfeld’s comments to the head of human resources, and to CEO Ben Silbermann, Brougher said Silbermann fired her over a video call.

A Pinterest spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the company is investing $2.5 million in programs to advance women and underrepresented communities in tech.

The company admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

“Francoise welcomes the meaningful steps Pinterest has taken to improve its workplace environment and is encouraged that Pinterest is committed to building a culture that allows all employees to feel included and supported,” Pinterest said in a joint statement with Brougher.

“I’m glad Pinterest took this very seriously,” Brougher said in an interview with the Times. “I’m hoping it’s a first step in creating a better work environment there.”

Brougher is one of the most prominent female tech executives to file a gender discrimination lawsuit against a former company.

Pinterest’s feuds in 2020

This isn’t the first time Pinterest has been criticized for alleged discrimination in the workplace.

Pinterest shareholders sued the company, its top executives, and board of directors on December 2 over allegations of discrimination against women and employees of color.

The lawsuit claimed top executives failed to address claims of workplace bias by doing nothing to monitor unequal pay.

“Pinterest’s leadership and Board take their fiduciary duties seriously and are committed to continuing our efforts to help ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported,” a Pinterest spokesperson told Business Insider at the time. They said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

In August, more than 200 Pinterest employees staged a virtual walkout and 450 signed an online petition demanding pay transparency and equality, and increased diversity in senior levels of the company.

Pinterest in August added its first two Black board members, hired a new head of diversity, and commissioned an independent review of its workplace culture.

Read more: Pinterest abandoned plans for a big new office project in San Francisco, but experts say staying in the city has several major advantages

In June, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two Black women, publicly resigned from Pinterest. They said they faced retaliation and humiliation, and were passed over for promotion.

Pinterest told Business Insider: “We took these issues seriously and conducted a thorough investigation when they were raised, and we’re confident both employees were treated fairly. We want each and every one of our employees at Pinterest to feel welcomed, valued, and respected.”

It added that “we’re committed to advancing our work in inclusion and diversity by taking action at our company and on our platform. In areas where we, as a company, fall short, we must and will do better.” 

The same month, Business Insider talked to 11 former employees who said Pinterest was a toxic and difficult place to work. Some Black former employees who worked on Pinterest’s ad-sales team said they were fired or “pushed out” of the company without any explanation.

Other employees said they were yelled at by managers in front of colleagues, which made them feel humiliated and upset.

The same week, CEO Silbermann acknowledged that some of Pinterest’s “culture is broken” and said he was “embarrassed” that he didn’t understand the “depth of the hardship and hurt” employees went through.

Read the original article on Business Insider