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Investing in women is an economic imperative – Elizabeth Pirrie

In the US, research by Boston Consulting Group revealed that women-founded startups generated over ten per cent higher cumulative revenue over five years. The numbers stretch higher still for minority founders. It’s clear that funding diverse, promising young companies early on has the potential to pay dividends for investors and society alike down the road. In the UK, the British Business Bank demonstrates the astounding impact possible when women secure growth capital and networks to match their talents. Under the visionary leadership of CEO Dr Charmaine Griffiths, the bank has built a £1.6 billion institution underpinning over 100,000 small and medium enterprises across Britain. Examples like this make one thing clear – enabling more talented female entrepreneurs to turn innovative ideas into world-changing companies is not just morally right, it’s an economic growth engine. Progress has been made, but barriers still remain for too many women starting out. Groundbreaking collaboration between government, business and universities is aiming to address these challenges. Last year’s Pathways Report advocated for initiatives like establishing inclusive innovation funds to provide accessible pre-seed funding for women and underrepresented founders. It also called for VC firms and investors to adopt transparent diversity policies and funding targets to reduce the systemic capital gaps women-led startups face. Importantly, the report highlighted launching networking and mentorship programmes focused on empowering young female founders on university campuses. These would be set up through partnerships with entrepreneurial academic departments to help develop talent pipelines. To further put this into practice, I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to join Heriot-Watt University’s new Entrepreneur-in-Residence programme. Alongside fellow Residents Conrad Chin (ex-Skyscanner Director) and Kevin Parker (Founder, KKI Associates Ltd), we aim to help students and staff to transform innovative ideas into commercial successes. I often say I have the best job in the world, which is CEO of AccelerateHER, an organisation that assists women founders with growth and securing vital investments to scale. I aim to bring this expertise to Heriot-Watt by providing crucial knowledge and connections, as well as guiding both female and male entrepreneurs through business development. The opportunity before us is clear. If we can come together to address systemic obstacles, drive access to funding and networks, and cultivate future generations we can unlock the full potential of women entrepreneurship. In doing so, we empower more diverse leaders and entrepreneurs to launch innovations that tackle pressing global needs while elevating communities. This is how we catalyse change – not just through top-down policies, but also grassroots support from campuses to communities. Together, we can build an ecosystem where every founder and innovator has room to thrive. Elizabeth Pirrie is AccelerateHER CEO and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Heriot-Watt University

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Amid birth rate crisis, UK needs a more rational discussion about immigration – Joyce McMillan

Wednesday evening, and the news bulletins are full of reactions to the announcement, earlier in the day, that the number of migrants who arrive in Britain in “small boats” has just hit a new record level for the first three months of the year. The figure in question is 4,644, just above the past seasonal high in 2022; and it triggers the usual round of worried comments from local residents who associate migration with crime or with unacceptable pressure on public services, and grandstanding from politicians who – for all their opportunistic rhetoric – seem remarkably short of credible or workable ideas for stopping these crossings. Yet oddly, within the same 24 hours, I also find myself staring at a map which shows fertility rates across all the nations of the EU, in the form of the average number of births per woman. The EU average is now just below 1.5 births per woman – nowhere near the historic replacement rate of around 2.1; and I already know that the UK fertility rate is slightly above that average, whereas in Scotland it is a little below it, at only 1.3 per woman. The population of Europe, in other words, is set to age and decline sharply over the coming decades; and those kinds of statistics are beginning to worry politicians as varied as Emmanuel Macron of France and Viktor Orban of Hungary, who can see how power is shifting towards the world’s big 21st century population centres in China and India. There is even some concern in the United States, where one economist has written a book cheerfully suggesting that the USA should stop framing immigration as a problem, and start aiming for a population of “one billion Americans”, about three times the present level. Get our weekly opinion newsletter for expert analysis from The Scotsman’s team of columnists All of which may sound a little strange and environmentally ruinous, to a generation used to thinking of humanity as a runaway species whose excessive growth – our numbers have more than tripled in 70 years – increasingly threatens our very survival. What is increasingly clear, though, is that amid this mounting debate about how to maintain some kind of demographic balance in ageing societies, the entirely negative immigration panics whipped up by some sections of the media, and amplified by third-rate politicians who see the issue as a career opportunity, are not only ugly in themselves, but completely unhelpful in trying to formulate sensible policies. A million visas As the excellent Ros Atkins brilliantly highlighted this week in a short BBC Panorama report, for example, today’s UK – after 15 years of austerity in areas such as skills training, higher education, and investment in vital public services – has developed an economy which, in many key areas, simply depends on high levels of inward migration to keep going. Last year, for all their high-profile talk about being tough on immigration, the UK Government issued more than a million visas to those coming to the UK to work or study, and to their dependents who were until recently entitled to join them. The net inward migration figure was calculated at almost 700,000, twice the level of 2019; and because immigrant populations are generally younger on average, their presence has a massive, often positive impact in various areas, including birth rates. About this huge surge of post-Brexit immigration there are two things worth saying. The first is that according to those most closely involved, without this immigration boom many key areas of British life – such as the provision of social care, the development of new tech and engineering start-ups, and the success of our “world-beating” universities – would now simply be unsustainable. Britain’s universities, for example, are now in many cases receiving up to 80 per cent of their fees income from foreign students. And the second point worth making is that the gap between Conservative rhetoric on this issue, and what they have actually been doing in the post-Covid years, is so vast that it has created serious new political opportunities for some of the worst actors in politics – those who exploited anti-foreigner sentiment in campaigning for Brexit, and are now arguing that “Brexit has been failed” by the current generation of Tory politicians, while seeking to terrify ordinary British voters with talk of a country that is no longer theirs, and which they need, somehow, to “take back”. Morass of disinformation This kind of posturing around the issue, in other words, makes rational discussion of how much immigration a country can sensibly accommodate over time all but impossible. Among the symptoms of this hopelessly overheated and often actively misleading debate is the political and media obsession with those who reach the UK on small boats; who of course represent only a tiny fraction of new arrivals, or less than 5 per cent of the total net immigration figure. And all of this, finally, is doubly difficult for us in Scotland, where we lack the economic power and capacity either to vary immigration policy in ways that night help develop our economy, or – in the style attempted in countries like Sweden, France and the Netherlands – to support families to the point where they are more easily able to have the number of children they ideally want. And unless, with thanks to journalists like Atkins, we can find a permanent way out of the morass of disinformation and distortion that characterises the public debate on this issue, it seems unlikely that anything much will change. The truth is that this country has in recent years used cheap overseas labour and wealthy overseas students as a substitute for proper funding of its own public realm. And now, it seems unable to move away from that policy without resorting to the kind of racist and xenophobic discourse that not only risks inflicting serious damage on community relations at home, but also does nothing to help resolve the real human crisis of disruption, displacement and forced migration, across the wider world.

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Perth Museum: Stone of Destiny may help city experience something akin to V&A effect’s on Dundee – Scotsman comment

Tomorrow, Perth Museum – a name of bold simplicity in an era of fancy titles – will open its doors with the Stone of Scone, aka Stone of Destiny, as the star attraction. While its origins are lost in the mists of time and obscured by spurious legends, its connections to Perthshire are clear. The stone’s pulling power should be considerable, given its long royal connections. Before being taken by Edward I, it had clearly become an established part of Scottish coronation traditions. English and then British monarchs seemingly placed similar store in its ‘magic’. Such a historic item, with the chance to wish for your own preferred destiny, may bring in many visitors. And prosaic types, for whom looking at a large piece of sandstone does not make for a day out, need not despair, if dragged along by more whimsical relatives. For there’s also a 3,000-year-old logboat, one of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s swords, and a silk doublet from the 1600s. So Perth’s answer to Dundee’s V&A should do well and may even, we hope, have a similarly transformative effect. Get our weekly opinion newsletter for expert analysis from The Scotsman’s team of columnists

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Mukhtar Ansari | His Death Is Condemnable And Regrettable: AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi

Latest IPL 2024 Elections Board Exam Results IPL Schedule Lifestyle Movie Reviews Explainers Photos Sports Tech Auto News / Videos /Mukhtar Ansari | His Death Is Condemnable And Regrettable: AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi X Mukhtar Ansari | His Death Is Condemnable And Regrettable: AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi Last Updated: March 29, 2024, 10:42 IST India Mukhtar Ansari | His Death Is Condemnable And Regrettable: AIMIM Chief Asaduddin OwaisiHis death is condemnable and regrettable: AIMIM Chief Latest News More Latest News TRENDING VIDEOS Latest Blogs Photogallery

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Jammu & Kashmir News: Taxi Falls Into Gorge On Jammu-Kashmir Highway | English News | News18

Latest IPL 2024 Elections Board Exam Results IPL Schedule Lifestyle Movie Reviews Explainers Photos Sports Tech Auto News / Videos /Jammu & Kashmir News: Taxi Falls Into Gorge On Jammu-Kashmir Highway | English News | News18 X Jammu & Kashmir News: Taxi Falls Into Gorge On Jammu-Kashmir Highway | English News | News18 Last Updated: March 29, 2024, 10:43 IST India Breaking News: Taxi falls into gorge on Jammu-Kashmir highway; 10 dead, rescue ops underway Latest News More Latest News TRENDING VIDEOS Latest Blogs Photogallery

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What to stream this weekend: Beyoncé, Steve Martin, J-Hope, Mike Birbiglia, Bill Nighy and ‘Madu’

Beyoncé’s country album and a documentary about a Nigerian boy who dreams of being a professional ballet dancer are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists: Bill Nighy plays an English soccer manager taking a team to the Homeless World Cup in “The Beautiful Game,” a two-part documentary about comedy master Steve Martin and Netflix offers “Testament: The Story of Moses,” just in time for Easter. NEW MOVIES TO STREAM — Bill Nighy leads a charming crowd-pleaser on Netflix, “The Beautiful Game,” in which he plays an English soccer (sorry, football) manager taking a team to the Homeless World Cup in Rome. Michael Ward co-stars as an especially talented player, Vinny, who reluctantly joins the team. New to housing insecurity, he feels above his teammates and the circus of the games at first. The story, written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and directed by Thea Sharrock is loosely inspired by the real thing (Cottrell-Boyce worked with the Homeless World Cup Foundation to develop the characters) but at heart is very much a movie, tidy and feel-good in the vein of “Ted Lasso” – perhaps what “Next Goal Wins” wanted to be. ( Read AP’s review. ) — Oscar-winning documentarian Morgan Neville dives into the life of a personal idol, Steve Martin, in “STEVE! (martin) a documentary in 2 pieces,” out on Apple TV+ on Friday. Neville (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”) essentially created two different movies, one about Martin’s beginnings and one about the present. Martin has told his story many times, but the Neville movies offer unprecedented access to him reflecting on successes, failures and finding happiness. He assures viewers that they can be watched in any order. And yes, there will be banjos. ( Read AP’s review.) — This week is all about affirmation and inspiration in streaming movies, apparently, and Disney+ has its own submission with “Madu.” It’s about a 12-year-old Nigerian boy who leaves home to study ballet at a prestigious school in England for seven years. If this sounds vaguely familiar it’s likely because at age 11, Anthony Madu went viral online with a 44-second video of him dancing shoeless in the mud and rain in Lagos. It got the attention of the national media and the likes of Cynthia Erivo and Viola Davis and put him on the path you see in the film. “Madu” begins streaming on Friday. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr NEW MUSIC TO STREAM — This ain’t a country album, it’s a Beyoncé album. At least, that phrase was briefly projected onto the exterior of some of New York City’s most famous museums, the Guggenheim, Whitney, New Museum, and the Museum of Arts and Design, in the week leading up to her highly anticipated new album, “Act ll: Cowboy Carter.” The album was first announced last month, after a Verizon commercial starring Beyoncé aired during the Super Bowl ended with the superstar saying, “They ready, drop the new music.” A cryptic Instagram tease later, and Bey surprise release two singles, the country stomp “Texas Hold ’Em,” and the soulful slow burn “16 Carriages.” It’s not new territory for Beyoncé, as anyone who remembers the track “Daddy Lessons” from her 2016 studio album “Lemonade” will remember, but it has opened up new territory. A few weeks ago, the superstar singer became the first Black woman to top Billboard’s country music chart. The album is out now. — Also on Bey Day (or however the culture has decided to describe the unofficial holiday), Sheryl Crow will release “Evolution,” her 12th studio album and first in half a decade. After 2019’s “Threads” was released, Crow said she would not release another full-length. Time changes things, as any artist will let you know, and it’s a great thing. One listen of her cover of Peter Gabriel’s 1992 track “Digging in the Dirt,” recorded with Gabriel, guarantees it. — Bid farewell to Sum 41, the playful pop-punk band from Canada known for their raucous hits “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip.” The band’s final album, “Heaven :x: Hell,” releases Friday. They’re going out with an explosion – their enthusiastic rock never missing a beat — but it is an end to an era, nonetheless. Was lead single “Landmines” written in 2023 or 2001? Who knows – palm-muted power chords hit just as hard now as they did then. — With members of the K-pop group BTS currently participating in South Korea’s mandatory military service, it’s hard not to miss them. But there is a balm: an Amazon Prime docuseries about member J-Hope titled “Hope on the Street.” The show follows J-Hope’s story — can’t miss viewing for the superfans in your life. — AP Music Writer Maria Sherman NEW SHOWS TO STREAM — This one’s for the comedy nerds. Peacock debuted “Good One: A Show About Jokes,” based on a popular Vulture podcast, on Tuesday. The documentary follows Mike Birbiglia, known for his personal comedy, as he mines his life for new material. “Good One” also features Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj and Atsuko Okatsuka. — In time for Easter Sunday, Netflix offers a new docudrama in the faith-based genre with “Testament: The Story of Moses.” It follows the Biblical story of Moses and his journey from Egyptian prince to being given the Ten Commandments by God. He also went from an outcast to a liberator. Charles Dance narrates and Avi Azulay plays Moses, and the three-parts also features interviews with religion experts. “Testament” premiered Wednesday. — BritBox offers the second season of the British prison drama “Time.” If you missed season one, it’s OK, because “Time” is an anthology series. Season two stars Jodie Whittaker of “Doctor Who” and “Broadchurch” along with Bella Ramsey from “The Last of Us.” Whittaker, Ramsey and Tamara Lawrence play three women who meet on their first day in prison. “Time” premiered Wednesday. — A new limited drama series on “Hulu” called “We Were the Lucky Ones” follows the members of the Kurc family, who get separated during World War II after the Nazi’s invaded Poland. It’s based on a book by Georgia Hunter who discovered her own Jewish ancestry and that her grandfather was actually a Holocaust survivor while writing a report for school. The series stars Logan Lerman as her grandfather Addy and Joey King as his sister. The family’s love, resilience and survival is one of hope and optimism. “We Were the Lucky Ones” debuted Thursday. — Prime Video introduced “The Baxters” on Thursday. The Christian-based series stars Roma Downey and Ted McGinley as John and Elizabeth Baxter, who have five adult children. The family’s faith is tested when one of the Baxter daughters learns her husband has had an affair. It’s based on a book series by Christian author Karen Kingsbury. Cassidy Gifford (daughter Frank Gifford and Kathy Lee Gifford) also plays one of the Baxter daughters. — Beloved for playing Gus Fring on “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” Giancarlo Esposito executive produces and stars in his own series called “Parish” for AMC. Esposito plays Gracian “Gray” Parish, who is drawn back into the crime world after a family tragedy. “Parish” is a passion project for Esposito, who worked to get it developed for eight years. Skeet Ulrich co-stars and Bradley Whitford has a recurring role. “Parish” is based on a BBC One show called “The Driver” and debuts Sunday on AMC and AMC+. — Alicia Rancilio — Louise Harland stars in the Disney+ series “Renegade Nell” as Nellie Jackson, an 18th century swashbuckling cockney who outwits and survives robbers and barons, and even beats a murder charge. She’s assisted by a protective sprite played by “Ted Lasso’s” Nick Mohammed. The eight-episode drama premieres Friday. — Hilary Fox NEW VIDEO GAMES TO PLAY — “South Park” has been around for so long that Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny should be old enough to have kids of their own. Fortunately, the boys are still stuck in elementary school purgatory, so they’re just the right age to go nuts for THQ Nordic’s South Park: Snow Day! The town has been shut down by a massive blizzard, so the gang is free to get outside and create all sorts of mayhem. Your character is the “New Kid,” and you can play solo or join forces with up to three friends in battles that go way beyond a neighborhood snowball fight. Break open the Cheesy Poofs now on PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. — Annapurna Interactive’s Open Roads begins with teenager Tess Devine and her mother, Opal, discovering a stash of old letters that hint at dark secrets — and maybe a hidden treasure. So the two of them hit the road in their station wagon on a mission to visit some long neglected family properties. It might not be the best idea for a mother-daughter road trip, since Opal might revive some memories she’s spent years trying to forget. Open Roads comes from some of the creators of the much-admired 2013 mystery Gone Home, and features the voices of Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever. Start driving now on PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. — Lou Kesten ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/entertainment. The Associated Press

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Fast-food companies seeing low-income diners pare orders

By Waylon Cunningham SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) – Runaway prices at U.S. fast-food joints and restaurants have made people skittish down the income ladder and executives at chains including McDonald’s and Wendy’s recently said they worry about losing business from those on the tightest budgets. Roughly a quarter of low-income consumers, defined as those making less than $50,000 a year, said they were eating less fast food and about half said they were making fewer trips to fast-casual and full-service dining establishments, according to polling in February by Revenue Management Solutions, a consulting firm. The rising price of food is contributing to budget-conscious diners cutting back. Whether consumed at home or in a restaurant, food prices rose 20% from Jan. 2021 to Jan. 2024, the fastest jump on record. A recent census Household Pulse Survey showed half of people earning less than $35,000 a year had difficulty paying everyday expenses, and nearly 80% were moderately or “very” stressed by recent price increases. Lauren Oxford, a musician who works part time at a bed-and-breakfast in Tennessee, said she used to stop by McDonald’s after running errands, treating herself to two double hamburgers, fries and a drink, for less than $5. As prices rose, she switched to smaller hamburgers and stopped getting the drink. But after a year in which McDonald’s franchisees drove prices up about 10% according to the company’s executives, she’s going to McDonald’s less in general. “Now I don’t know if I can justify that.” In the Fed’s most recent Beige Book compendium of anecdotal reports gathered from business and community contacts around the country, 7 of 12 regional Fed districts reported low-income consumers were changing spending habits in search of bargains, seeking more help from community groups, or struggling to access credit. About one-third of Black American households, and 21% of white American households, earned less than $35,000 in 2022, according to the latest available U.S. census data. For fast-food companies that often promote an image of affordability, low-income consumers are a significant portion of the customer base and a bellwether for longer-term trends. But they are typically the first to cut back spending and the last to come back. But now, chains may be less likely to chase customers as hard as they have in the past because even with a drop in traffic, sales have remained consistent supported by increased prices. Fast food companies aren’t “in a hurry to take traffic over profit the way they were a decade ago,” said Mike Lukianoff, CEO of SignalFlare.ai and a veteran consultant in the fast food industry. For example back in 2008, Subway introduced its nationwide $5 footlong, which became the poster sandwich for the Great Recession. That spurred rivals to introduce extreme value deals for budget-conscious customers, such as “$5 Fill-Up Boxes” at Yum! Brands KFC. In 2016, McDonald’s, after a prolonged slump in sales, introduced a bundle deal it called “McPick 2”, allowing customers to choose 2 items, like a McDouble, for $2. Within months, Wendy’s offered a four for $4 deal. Burger King offered five for $4. Pizza Hut had a $5 “flavor menu.” APP-DRIVEN DISCOUNTS Now, instead of across-the-board menu slashes and broad discounts, industry analysts say chains are being more selective, aiming them at specific demographics or limiting them to specific meal times or channels, such as its app or only through delivery. McDonald’s executives told investors in February that it would rely on its existing “value menu” to appeal to low-income consumers who might be tempted to eat packaged food at home instead. CFO Ian Borden said affordability is core to the brand, and the company would continue “evolving” its value offerings. “The battleground is certainly with that low-income consumer,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told investors, referring to people making less than $45,000. Wendy’s recently introduced a limited-time $1 burger — available only through its app. Its CFO Gunther Plosch told investors in February that among lower-income customers, their traffic is down but their share with the general market is unchanged. For major fast-food companies, loyalty apps are the go-to strategy among major brands to increase retention and the average amount of money spent. The upside for chains, David Henkes, senior principal with Technomic said, is that they capture more transaction data and demographic data for the consumer, “which is a trade-off many are happy to do.” For example, McDonald’s frequently offers in-app discounts, such as 20% off an order or free delivery with a large enough order. Domino’s halved the minimum purchase price to get points in its loyalty program, to $5 from $10, its CEO told investors at a conference in January. It also reduced the number of purchases needed to get a free pizza to as few as two from six. “And so essentially, for this lower-income consumer, we’ve made the brand more accessible,” CEO Russell Weiner said. To be sure, not every chain is seeing weakness among low-income customers. At Taco Bell, which sells a single taco for $1.40 at many of its stores in San Antonio, locations in low-income markets did better than other locations, Yum! CEO David Gibbs told investors in February. McDonald’s still holds its appeal for Andreas Garay, a retail worker eating at a McDonald’s in westside San Antonio. He said he plans to keep his coffee-and-Big-Mac habit– even if prices continue going up. (Reporting by Waylon Cunningham in San Antonio and Howard Schneider in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Anna Driver)

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Disney won’t help the detransitioners its transgender activism encouraged to go under the knife

Does Disney care about more about the praise of transgender activists or the pain of its employees and their family, including children? The answer will become clear at the company’s April 3 annual meeting, when shareholders vote on a proposal my organization filed. We’re asking the company, which has famously associated itself with the gender-ideology movement, to stop ignoring the significant medical needs of those who’ve tried to reverse their sex transitions. My group, as a Disney shareholder, filed our proposal with the company in October. We want the entertainment giant to explain why its health insurance doesn’t include coverage for people who attempt to detransition. It’s a matter of equal treatment that especially matters as more Americans pursue sex changes they end up regretting, a trend Disney strengthened by so publicly aligning itself with the transgender cause. Many people who attempt a transition have gender dysphoria, a psychological condition that involves feeling uncomfortable with one’s biological sex. Rather than get the proper counseling they need to address it, they are generally fast-tracked by medical practitioners into an invasive and often irreversible regimen of drugs and surgeries. Yet instead of having their bodily discomfort soothed, many find themselves dealing with horrible physical consequences and worse mental-health issues. My organization has worked with Chloe Cole, who began a gender transition at age 12 and is the patient advocate at the nonprofit Do No Harm. By age 16, after taking puberty blockers and receiving a double mastectomy, she tried to turn back. Yet her body has been irreversibly changed and damaged, and years later, her chest is still bandaged. She will likely be on different medications and need ongoing treatments for the rest of her life. Detransitioners tell similar stories, and while there’s no good estimate of how many there are, it’s certain the number is growing fast. But Disney’s health-insurance coverage ignores detransitioners altogether. Disney is happy to help employees and their family — including children — ruin their bodies. It has no interest in helping them fix the bodies, despite encouraging them down that ruinous path. Disney is doing the bidding of a powerful outside interest group — the Human Rights Campaign. The group’s Corporate Equality Index ranks companies in part on their commitment to transgenderism, and to earn a 100% score, their health-insurance coverage must include gender transitions for employees, family members and dependents. Disney’s coverage with Cigna, for example, includes the reduction in size of testes, construction of a penis or vagina and various other genitalia-building and -amputating procedures, as well as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Human Rights Campaign denies there’s a need for restorative care, reflecting the activist community’s belief that detransitioners are anomalous. Acknowledging their existence — and increasing number — would draw attention to the fact gender transitions are often irreversible, raising awkward questions about the morality of what they’re pushing. They’re happy to help a young girl cut off her breasts but less thrilled about helping her replace what she’s forever lost. Disney scores 100% and has effectively admitted it doesn’t cover the cost of detransition treatments. Most notably, when Disney asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to exclude our shareholder proposal for its annual meeting, it could have stated the proposal is moot because it already covers detransitions. Instead, Disney tried to exclude it on technical grounds. The SEC forced the company to keep it. Disney management has urged shareholders to oppose our proposal. But that’s what you’d expect from a company that loudly touts its 100% score. Management fears losing the coveted designation because negative media coverage will follow, as Anheuser-Busch recently found out. Disney isn’t alone. The Human Rights Campaign has bestowed 100% scores on 595 corporations. My organization has filed similar proposals with several of them, including Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, which have upcoming shareholder meetings. At its December meeting, Microsoft management urged shareholders to vote against our proposal, which failed to pass. The company gets to keep its 100% score — and keep ignoring the urgent and lifelong medical needs of a growing class of people. Whatever happens at Disney, the fight to protect detransitioners will continue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already made it illegal to discriminate in pay or benefits based on “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” As our proposal makes clear, that language includes detransitioners, even if companies like Disney and transgender activists don’t like it or deny their existence. If Disney shareholders don’t give these suffering people their due April 3, it’s only a matter of time before a new presidential administration or courts force them. Detransitioners are people too, and it’s time Disney and every other company acknowledged their pain instead of blindly seeking activist praise. Paul Chesser is director of the Corporate Integrity Project for National Legal and Policy Center.

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