“The Queen Bee in the Corner Office,” by Olga Khazan
Researchers have long tried to understand why certain women cut down other women at work. And as Olga Khazan goes in search of an answer, she finds evidence that women aren’t the villains of this story—the modern workplace is. When there appear to be too few opportunities for women, research shows, women begin to view their gender as an impediment; they avoid joining forces, and sometimes turn on one another. And that’s when the so-called queen bees emerge. This environment breeds conditions that cause women to say, in survey after survey, they prefer working for men over women, and to quickly label female bosses as “emotional,” “catty,” or “bitchy.” In one study of law-firm secretaries, nearly all of whom were women, not a single one preferred to work for a female partner. With the cause more clearly understood, Khazan points to solutions: companies providing better support for working moms; employers making more of an effort to show talented women that they’re valued, thus giving them less reason to tear down one another; and women being more confident in their success.
DISPATCHES + CULTURE:
“The Rise of the Violent Left,” by Peter Beinart
For progressives, the ascendancy of Donald Trump raises a fundamental question: How far are you willing to go to stop it? In Washington, the response centers on how members of Congress can oppose Trump’s agenda, but as Peter Beinart writes, in the country at large, some militant leftists are offering a very different answer by way of the growing “antifa,” or Anti-Fascist Action, movement. Trump supporters and white nationalists, meanwhile, see antifa’s attacks as an assault on their own right to free assembly. The result is a level of political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s.
“Are Index Funds Evil?,” by Frank Partnoy
Index funds, the investment vehicles that have long been thought to offer the possibility of stable returns to regular people, may actually be harming the economy. The law professor Frank Partnoy dives into new research suggesting that index funds could be decreasing competition and making it easier for U.S. corporations to collude. Writes Partnoy: “Ultimately, the new theory of common ownership is a theory about inequality: To the extent that passive investing shifts costs to consumers, it makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer.”
“The Gentleman From Arizona,” by McKay Coppins
When Democratic Senator Tim Kaine traveled to Florida and in fluent Spanish praised the patriotism of newly naturalized citizens, Republican Senator Jeff Flake tells McKay Coppins, describing his frustration with his own party: “I almost cried … I just thought, That should be us. That was us, and now it’s not.” Coppins spent time with the senator from Arizona, at a nearly three-hour constituent town hall and in his Capitol Hill office, to find out how the politest politician in Washington is navigating the decline of civility in the Trump era—and trying to hang on to his Senate seat.
This month’s Big Question asks, “What was the most important letter in history?” Up for consideration are Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” first published in The Atlantic in 1963; the intercepted Zimmermann telegram; and a message “unlikely ever to be answered, the Golden Record accompanying the Voyager spacecraft.”