US is far from gender balance in politics despite record year for women candidates

A century after most women won the right to vote and 148 years after the first woman ran for president, women voters turned out in unprecedented numbers and helped to elect the first woman, and woman of color, as vice president-elect, and record numbers of women candidates up and down the ballot.



a man wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: US is far from gender balance in politics despite record year for women candidates


© Greg Nash
US is far from gender balance in politics despite record year for women candidates

The 117th Congress will include at least 36 Republican women – up from a previous high of 30 in 2006 – and 51 women of color – three more than have ever served before. New Mexico elected the state’s first all-woman of color House delegation, which includes Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez. Additionally, Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation joins Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation, and Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation as the third Native American woman elected to the House. Rep.-elect Cori Bush (D-Mo.) is the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress; Rep.-elect Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.) is the first Black woman in Washington’s congressional delegation.

Women candidates led the seat-gains for both the Democratic and Republican parties this cycle. All three of the House seats flipped by the Democratic Party were won by women candidates; this comes as several seats gained in 2018 were lost to the Republican Party. On the Republican side, the highest number of non-incumbent Republican women, 18, were elected this year; and, Republican women candidates flipped seven of the nine seats gained by the Republican Party this cycle.

Down the ballot, while there were a number of “firsts” for women candidates, as a whole little has changed for women’s representation. Women continue to only hold roughly a third of state legislative seats; 94 women will serve in statewide executive positions in 2021, just a 1 percent increase from 2020; and only nine states have women governors, a number which may go down if Biden nominates one or more to his Cabinet.

Commentary during the lead up to the election heralded the record 322 women running for Congress who made it to the general election. But these historic numbers of women in the pipeline, and the avalanche of money spent in this election cycle, failed to substantially increase the number of women actually elected to Congress.

A common refrain is that when women run, women win; and, while this can be true in some cases, it is highly dependent on the type of race in which women are running. In the 2020 general election, 107 incumbent women ran, 97 won, with a success rate of 91 percent; 44 women ran in open seats and 17 won, a success rate of 39 percent; but, the vast majority of women, 171, ran as challengers, only ten have won, a success rate of just 6 percent. Our antiquated winner take all electoral system limits competition and inherently favors incumbents resulting in minimal

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Cori Bush makes history: How women candidates did in the 2020 election

Cori Bush, a progressive activist who unseated a longtime Democratic incumbent in August in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, won her general election race Tuesday, making her the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

Marilyn Strickland, the two-time former Democratic mayor of Tacoma, Washington, won her race in Washington’s 10th Congressional District, making her the first African-American member of the Washington state delegation and the first African-American from the Pacific Northwest in Congress, according to her campaign.

Strickland and Young Kim, a Republican who holds a very narrow lead over the Democratic incumbent in California’s 39th Congressional District, could also be the first Korean-American women to serve in Congress.

“I would say that more women are feeling comfortable running for office and it is exciting to see so many women of color step up,” Strickland told “Good Morning America” Wednesday. “I think the more that we see folks running for office, the more that we see people holding office, the more encouraged people are.”

“Historically women often have to be coaxed into running for office, and so the fact that people are stepping up and that they have some support is really important,” she said.

As election results continue to come in — with dozens of House races involving women candidates still outstanding — women of color are currently one seat shy of matching the 2019 record of 48 women of color serving in Congress at one time, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

At least 115 women of color ran for Congress in 2020, an election year beset by racial unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted people of color.

Overall, women are currently five seats away from tying the record set in 2019 of 127 women serving in Congress, according to CAWP.

New Mexico is sending three women to Congress, making it the largest all-women delegation in U.S. history, according to CAWP.

What will be different in the next Congress, is that more of the women in Congress will be Republican women, notes Debbie Walsh, CAWP’s longtime director.

“As much as 2018 was this record year [for women], it was also a year that was all about Democratic women, and this year has been, from the beginning, a story that has had a partisan tilt, and this time on the Republican side,” she said. “As of right now, the Republican women have beat their record for new women elected.”

There will be at least 12 new Republican women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and one new Republican women in the

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How women candidates did in the 2020 election

In an election year that saw a record-breaking number of women and women of color candidates run, it appears Congress will have a more diverse body in 2021.

Cori Bush, a progressive activist who unseated a longtime Democratic incumbent in August in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, won her general election race Tuesday, making her the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

Marilyn Strickland, the two-time former Democratic mayor of Tacoma, Washington, won her race in Washington’s 10th Congressional District, making her the first African-American member of the Washington state delegation and the first African-American from the Pacific Northwest in Congress, according to her campaign.

Strickland and Young Kim, a Republican who holds a very narrow lead over the Democratic incumbent in California’s 39th Congressional District, could also be the first Korean-American women to serve in Congress.

“I would say that more women are feeling comfortable running for office and it is exciting to see so many women of color step up,” Strickland told “Good Morning America” Wednesday. ” I think the more that we see folks running for office, the more that we see people holding office, the more encouraged people are.”

“Historically women often have to be coaxed into running for office, and so the fact that people are stepping up and that they have some support is really important,” she said.

As election results continue to come in — with dozens of House races involving women candidates still outstanding — women of color are currently one seat shy of matching the 2019 record of 48 women of color serving in Congress at one time, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

At least 115 women of color ran for Congress this year, meaning more than 60 women of color candidates lost their races in an election year beset by racial unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted people of color.

Overall, women are currently five seats away from tying the record set in 2019 of 127 women serving in Congress, according to CAWP.

New Mexico is sending three women to Congress, making it the largest all-women delegation in U.S. history, according to CAWP.

MORE: A candid conversation with eight women of color running for Congress this year

What will be different in the next Congress, is that more of the women in Congress will be Republican women, notes Debbie Walsh, CAWP’s longtime director.

“As much as 2018 was this record year [for women], it was also a year that was all about Democratic women, and this year has been, from the beginning, a story that has had

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How ‘strategic’ bias keeps Americans from voting for women and candidates of color

<span class="caption">Women like congressional candidate Cori Bush from Missouri face greater obstacles than white men when trying to reach political office.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/in-this-screengrab-congressional-candidate-cori-bush-news-photo/1277157877?adppopup=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Getty Images for Supermajority">Getty Images for Supermajority</a></span>
Women like congressional candidate Cori Bush from Missouri face greater obstacles than white men when trying to reach political office. Getty Images for Supermajority

When Americans vote this fall, the candidates on their ballots will not reflect the diversity of the United States.

Despite recent gains, women and people of color still do not run for office as frequently as white men. In part, this is because they face skepticism about their electability.

When former Rep. Katie Hill launched her campaign for Congress in 2017, for example, Democrats told her a woman couldn’t win in her California district.

In Alabama, meanwhile, when Adia Winfrey was exploring a 2018 run for Congress, a senior party official told her there was “no point” continuing with her nascent campaign. The problem? As a Black candidate, she seemed unelectable.

And in Michigan, 2018 congressional candidate Suneel Gupta, an Indian-American, heard similar concerns. As Gupta recounts, the rationale from some local Democrats was, “I’m not racist, but my neighbor is racist … so I don’t think you’d be a strong a candidate.”

As a political scientist and former congressional candidate, I think these comments reflect a subtle yet pervasive form of discrimination in politics. It’s something I call “strategic discrimination.”

Other people’s views

Strategic discrimination occurs when a party leader, donor or primary voter worries that others will object to a candidate’s identity. As a result, these key actors may not endorse, fund or vote for candidates who fall outside the norm due to their race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

The problem is not direct bias or animosity. Rather, strategic discrimination is driven by concerns about other people’s views.

As was on full display in the 2020 Democratic primary, even liberals who typically value diversity can engage in strategic discrimination if they think others are biased.

In focus groups, for example, Black Democratic primary voters said they saw promise in Kamala Harris’ candidacy, but they hesitated to support her because they worried America wouldn’t elect a Black woman.

Strategic discrimination typically occurs prior to a primary election. Of course, party leaders want to support candidates who share their policy views. But they also want to win. So when they are deciding whom to support, party chairs, delegates, donors and elected officials make speculative, anticipatory judgments about how candidates will perform in the general election.

In this “futures market” of politics, diverse candidates are at a sharp disadvantage. In my research, I’ve found that Americans see hypothetical white male candidates as more electable than equally qualified Black women, white women and, to a lesser degree, Black men.

The perceived electability gap is especially severe for women of color. Studies I’ve conducted show that Black women are viewed as much less competitive than either white women or Black men. Compared to a white man with the same education and experience in elected office, a Black woman is nearly a third less likely to be considered “very electable.”

The term “electable” has long been

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Women candidates in Laredo reflect on entering politics

All eight women running for Laredo City Council this year participated in a virtual forum on Wednesday for the large private Facebook group Haute Mammas, which the creator describes as “the feminine Wikipedia of both Laredos.”

The forum was moderated by Webb County Democratic Party Chair Sylvia Bruni, who noted that the record number of women in the running this year is perfectly timed with the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Politics can be very difficult, Bruni said, and she challenged each candidate to help more women get involved going forward.

To round off the forum, Fourth Court of Appeals Judge Rebeca Martinez spoke about the unprecedented number of Latina women on Texas ballots, which encourages more Latina women to come out and vote.

“Voter turnout in Webb County has been influenced by you all,” Martinez said.

Bruni asked all the candidates how they decided that now was the right time for them to get involved in local politics, as a woman. Each candidate’s story was unique.

For four years, District IV candidate Mellie Hereford has attended City Council meetings and publicly criticized many of the decisions council has made that she considers unethical or irresponsible. She decided to run on the day of the filing deadline because her opponent, Alberto Torres, was running unopposed.

“He can’t have this for free, he has to work for it,” Hereford said.

District V Councilwoman Nelly Vielma is currently the only woman on Laredo City Council. She said she ran four years ago because she was unhappy with the representation on council, and she wanted to provide an example to her children about getting involved in the political arena. Vielma argues that women’s “sixth sense” bring a solution-oriented perspective to council.

Of the 11 candidates running for District VII, four are women: Betty Flores, Priscilla Pantoja, Maria Antonieta Reyes and Vanessa Perez.

Flores served as mayor of Laredo from 1998 to 2006, and she was the first woman to hold the position. She didn’t run for mayor because a woman was needed for the role but because her experience and connections were needed, Flores said. After being part of the creation of the World Trade Bridge in 2000, she felt the need to come back and finish the work of that district, which is why she has thrown her name in for council.

Pantoja’s journey into politics began two years ago, she said. Her 10- and 17-year-old daughters inspired her to run, and Pantoja said she wants to show them how powerful and relentless women can be. She said to be running against women of such caliber has been amazing.

Perez said when she went to college, she had plans to become a CEO of a big company. But when she became a mother, her priorities changed, and she became more instinctive, maternal and focused on education. And when she started to get involved in District VII issues, she realized that she brought a lot of education and experience

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More Gender Diversity Appears On Pa.’s Ballot As Women Candidates Grow In Numbers

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Next Tuesday’s election features something a little unusual in Pennsylvania — lots of women on the ballot. This state has not always been friendly to women candidates, but that may be slowly changing.

Thirty years ago, only one out of ten state lawmakers was a woman. Today, it’s about a quarter of the legislature — an improvement but hardly parity.

But this year, more women that even are on the ballot.

“Women candidates made a big splash in 2018, and I think more Americans are getting comfortable with having women candidates on the ballot,” Dr. Dana Brown told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday.

Brown is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University.

At least 27 women are on the ballot locally, including two state Senators — Pam Iovino (D/37th District) and Kim Ward (R/39th District) — along with two more women running against male Senators — Shelbie Stromyer (D/21st District) and Nicole Ziccarelli (R/45th District).

Statewide, three of the six major party candidates are women — Heather Heidelbaugh (R-running for Attorney General), Stacy Garrity (R-running for Treasurer), and Nina Ahmad (D-running for Auditor General).

“It’s exciting to see so many women running statewide,” says Brown.

Locally, we have no female members of Congress, and only one female candidate is on the ballot for Congress in this region. That is Kristy Gnibus, an Erie Democrat, running against U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler.

“We do tend to have a stronger, increased number of women in politics in the eastern part of the Commonwealth,” says Brown.

That’s true. The four Pennsylvania women in Congress come from back east, not here.

The big change is the state House of Representatives.

Right now we have eight local female state representatives, including PA Rep. Marci Mustello (R/11th), PA Rep. Sara Innamorato (D/21st), PA Rep. Lori Mizgorski (R/30th), PA Rep. Summer Lee (D/34th), PA Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R/40th), PA Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R/44th), PA Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik (D/45th) and PA Rep. Pam Snyder (D/50th) .

Eleven other women are running for state House in this area, including Lynne Ryan (R/9th), Kolbe Cole (D/10th), Emily Kinkead (D/20th), Emily Skopov (D/28th), Lissa Geiger Shulman (D/30th), Carrie DelRosso (R/33rd), Jessica Benham (D/36th), Linda Book (R/38th), Sara-Summer Oliphant (D/39th), Sharon Guidi (D/40th), and Michelle Knoll (D/44th).

In fact, in three districts — the 30th, 40th and 45th — women are running against each other.

“I love it. It’s exciting to know that we are normalizing women leadership, normalizing women running in the southwestern region,” says Brown.

Brown thinks we could end up with as many as ten women in the state House from this area, and perhaps more.

Bottom line: this year you’ll find more gender diversity on the ballot than ever.

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Women Tend to Vote for Democratic Presidential Candidates More Than Men Do. Here’s How That Gender Gap First Came to Be

George Bush and Ronald Reagan Pointing
George Bush and Ronald Reagan Pointing

George Bush (L) and Ronald Reagan before the start of a debate before the League of Women Voters Forum in Houston in April 1980 Credit – Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

As the electoral odds facing President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have continued to diverge in national and state polls, there’s at least one area where the divergence has been particularly striking: By early October, one national poll had Biden leading Trump by over 20 points among registered female voters; Trump and Biden were tied among likely male voters. Other October polls had Biden up an average of 25 points among women—which, if it holds, would be a record in modern elections.

Nationally, women in the U.S. have had the vote for 100 years. For the last 40 of those years, they have voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in greater numbers than men have. (Notably, this does not mean a majority of women always vote for the Democrat.) This remarkably durable voting pattern may not be a surprise this year, but it shook Republicans when it emerged in 1980—and examining the two parties’ responses to this voting pattern can help us understand the shape of American politics today.

It took 60 years for women to vote in the same proportion as men. In 1980, for the first time since the passage of the 19th Amendment, women voted at the same rate as men. That was also the first time they voted noticeably differently from men. Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter by almost 10 percentage points in the 1980 presidential election. Among women voters, however, Reagan won by only a single percentage point (46% of the vote, compared to Carter’s 45%). Democrats immediately moved to claim the gender gap for political mileage even as Reagan’s supporters struggled to understand what had happened.

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Some relatively obvious things had changed for the Republican Party in 1980. The party removed support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from its platform that year, after 40 years of relatively consistent support. Further, for the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided, there was a clear divide between the candidates on support for abortion rights, as Reagan was on the record supporting a constitutional amendment banning them. Interestingly, however, it was not at all clear these issues were driving the new gap in voting. Reagan’s own pollsters pointed out that a majority of both men and women supported the ERA and reproductive rights, but they still diverged in support for Reagan. What then was driving the gap?

In 1982, Democrats picked up 26 seats in the House of Representatives. Political analysts attributed this loss to the GOP’s continuing failure to win over women voters. A few days later, Reagan pollster Ronald Hinckley presented the administration with a memo analyzing the new voting pattern. The memo argued that Republicans’ biggest problem

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Why Women Vote for Democratic Presidential Candidates More

As the electoral odds facing President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have continued to diverge in national and state polls, there’s at least one area where the divergence has been particularly striking: By early October, one national poll had Biden leading Trump by over 20 points among registered female voters; Trump and Biden were tied among likely male voters. Other October polls had Biden up an average of 25 points among women—which, if it holds, would be a record in modern elections.

Nationally, women in the U.S. have had the vote for 100 years. For the last 40 of those years, they have voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in greater numbers than men have. (Notably, this does not mean a majority of women always vote for the Democrat.) This remarkably durable voting pattern may not be a surprise this year, but it shook Republicans when it emerged in 1980—and examining the two parties’ responses to this voting pattern can help us understand the shape of American politics today.

It took 60 years for women to vote in the same proportion as men. In 1980, for the first time since the passage of the 19th Amendment, women voted at the same rate as men. That was also the first time they voted noticeably differently from men. Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter by almost 10 percentage points in the 1980 presidential election. Among women voters, however, Reagan won by only a single percentage point (46% of the vote, compared to Carter’s 45%). Democrats immediately moved to claim the gender gap for political mileage even as Reagan’s supporters struggled to understand what had happened.

Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter

Some relatively obvious things had changed for the Republican Party in 1980. The party removed support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from its platform that year, after 40 years of relatively consistent support. Further, for the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided, there was a clear divide between the candidates on support for abortion rights, as Reagan was on the record supporting a constitutional amendment banning them. Interestingly, however, it was not at all clear these issues were driving the new gap in voting. Reagan’s own pollsters pointed out that a majority of both men and women supported the ERA and reproductive rights, but they still diverged in support for Reagan. What then was driving the gap?

In 1982, Democrats picked up 26 seats in the House of Representatives. Political analysts attributed this loss to the GOP’s continuing failure to win over women voters. A few days later, Reagan pollster Ronald Hinckley presented the administration with a memo analyzing the new voting pattern. The memo argued that Republicans’ biggest problem was appealing to non-married women. Hinckley wrote, “The most dramatic change in America during the 1970s was the increase in families headed by single women.” Notably, Reagan pollsters warned the Administration against writing off the gender

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MAGA hat? Biden shirt? Political clothing OK at polls as long as you’re not campaigning for candidates :: WRAL.com

— The Orange County Democratic Party has apologized to a teen voter who was told by a volunteer that he couldn’t wear a T-shirt supporting President Donald Trump into an early voting site this week.

“I’ve had the shirt four or five years now,” David Mogle, of Hillsborough, said Thursday of his “Trump, Make America Great Again” shirt.

He was too young to vote when he first got the shirt, but he turned 18 last December. His mother, Melissa Mogle, said he couldn’t wait to vote in this year’s elections.

“Oh, my gosh, he’s been excited to vote probably for the past four years,” she said.

Vote; election

So, David Mogle wore the shirt Tuesday to the early voting site at the Efland Ruritan Club, where he was approached by a volunteer for the Democratic Party.

“He says, ‘Excuse me, sir. You can’t wear that within 50 feet of the polls. Do you have a jacket you can pull over it?'” the teen said.

When David Mogle said he didn’t, the man told him he could turn the shirt inside out.

“I didn’t want to get into it with the guy. I just thought the best thing to do was just leave,” he said.

“I felt badly for him,” Melissa Mogle said. “It’s his first election to vote in, and I wanted him to have a good experience.”

Voting Machines in Georgia

State law sets a 50-foot buffer from the doors to a polling site that’s off limits to campaigning. The law bans ads and other political literature there but says nothing about voters’ clothing.

Orange County elections director Rachel Raper said people can wear T-shirts, hats, pins or any other campaign apparel when they vote as long as they’re not harassing other voters ot telling them whom to vote for.

Marilyn Carter, chairwoman of the Orange County Democratic Party, emailed an apology to the Mogles on behalf of the Democratic Party.

“We want all voters, especially young people, to feel welcome at the polls,” Carter said in a statement to WRAL News. “We believe this incident occurred because a well-intentioned volunteer knew that people appointed by the political parties to observe inside the polling place cannot wear campaign insignia and assumed that this prohibition also applied to voters.”

Plan Your Vote

She said she has notified North Carolina Democratic Party officials about the incident to make sure volunteers are trained on what voters are allowed to wear at the polling place.

David Mogle said he returned to the early voting site on Wednesday, wearing the shirt and a Trump hat, and voted.

“Nobody said anything to me,” he said.

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Microsoft board is looking for women and minorities for pool of candidates who could someday replace CEO Satya Nadella

  • Microsoft emphasized the importance of diversity in its succession planning strategy in its latest proxy statement.
  • India-born CEO Satya Nadella is among the seven members of Microsoft’s 12-person board who is not a White male.



a man in glasses looking at the camera: Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft


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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft has stated repeatedly said it’s committed to boosting diversity. Now the company has strengthened that commitment by pledging it will seek minority candidates who could one day take the place of CEO Satya Nadella.

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“The board is committed to actively seeking highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool of potential CEO candidates,” Microsoft said in its annual proxy statement on Monday. The board handles CEO succession planning, including identifying both internal and external candidates and coming up with plans to develop internal candidates, according to the filing.

The statement does not signal anything about Nadella’s plans or status — Microsoft, like nearly every other company, regularly includes a statement about succession planning in its annual filings. However, the statement’s commitment to diversity at the CEO level is new, and is unusual among tech companies.

Microsoft is among the many technology companies that have released data showing their relative lack of racial and gender diversity and saying they would to increase diversity. Nadella, who was born in southern India, brought diversity to the CEO seat when he replaced Steve Ballmer in 2014. Now, as Microsoft seeks to acknowledge social tensions, the company’s board appears eager to consider min

In recent years Microsoft’s board-level diversity has increased somewhat. In its proxy, the company claims seven out of the 12 board members are “diverse” — that includes women and non-White board members. In 2014, shortly after Nadella took over, five out of the 10 board members were “diverse.” The board’s chairman since 2014, John Thompson, is Black.

Microsoft released diversity figures for the first time in 2014, as did competitors such as Amazon and Google. The report showed Microsoft was 71.0% male globally and 60.6% white in the U.S. By 2019 Microsoft was 70.7% male globally and 52.1% white in the U.S.

In June, after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minnesota, Nadella became more vocal on diversity.

“As we see the everyday racism, bias and violence experienced by the Black and African American community, the tragic and horrific murders of so many, the violence in cities across the US, it is time for us to act in all arenas,” he told employees in a memo. Weeks later he sent out another memo, saying that Microsoft “will double the number of Black and African American people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025.”

Earlier this month Microsoft said the U.S. Labor Department had contacted the company to determine if the plan is illegal.

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