Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Can young celebrities like Taylor Swift and Emma Watson make feminism cool? Read on for my thoughts on this, and to learn more about Miss America’s questionable past. Have a great Tuesday!
• Helena Morrissey: Men are interested in gender equality. The CEO of Britain’s Newton Investment Management, speaking at Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit, said that watching more and more men champion women’s rights makes her more optimistic about women’s future in business. Morrissey founded the 30% Club to get 30% female representation on U.K. boards by next year, and she said that 110 male chairmen of British businesses have publicly committed to her cause.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Avon CEO: America is still beautiful. Although the world’s largest direct seller of beauty products has seen its North American revenue cut in half, CEO Sheri McCoy is betting she can revive sales by focusing on e-commerce. “To not compete in one of the largest markets in the world doesn’t make sense,” she told Fortune in an exclusive interview. “It’s easy to say ‘let’s walk away from it’ — I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
• The women who STEM-ed their way to power. While there may be a shortage of young women going into STEM education, most of those atop Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list studied engineering, physics and math. Assistant Managing Editor Leigh Gallagher writes about this trend and what it means for young girls who can look at these women as models of power and inspiration.
• Lois Lerner: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’ The former IRS official at the center of a scandal over allegedly targeting conservative groups told Politico that she is proud of her career and the job she did for her country. She denied trying to cover up any wrongdoing and still claims that her political leanings never impacted her work.
• The most powerful bankers. Beth Mooney, chairman and CEO of KeyCorp, is the most powerful woman in banking, according to American Banker’s annual ranking. Mooney, who came in at No. 47 on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list, became the first female CEO of a top 20 U.S. bank in 2011 and profits have risen steadily since she took over.
• MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dawn Hudson, former vice chairman of The Parthenon Group, is now the NFL’s chief marketing officer… Jill Hazelbaker, former top Google communications and government relations exec, is moving to Snapchat to run PR and policy… Lila Tretikov, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, is now on the board of directors of cloud computing company Rackspace.
Will young celebrities make feminism ‘cool’?
Bra-burning. Man-hating. Angry and unattractive. Such stereotypes have shadowed the women’s movement over the past few decades — and a slew of young, fashionable celebs are working to clarify feminism’s true definition.
Emma Watson, best known for playing Hermoine in the Harry Potter films, thrived in the face of adversity on the big screen — often providing the wisdom that helped her male cronies Harry and Ron stir up some much-needed courage. It seems Watson’s taken a page from her character: During her first big speech as a United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, she once again worked to inspire bravery in men. On Sunday, she announced the launch of the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign, which aims to get men involved in the global movement toward gender equality.
As Watson addressed the audience, she championed a new outlook for feminism. “I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating,” she said. “If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
Watson is the latest to join a growing group of young celebrities who not only identify as feminists, but are working to make the label socially acceptable and representative of a necessary movement. In August, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who had previously claimed she was not a feminist, said she recently realized that being pro-women doesn’t make you anti-man. That same month, global pop sensation Beyoncé Knowles performed at the VMAs in front of a huge white sign that said “Feminist.” Her most recent album, Beyoncé, also features snippets from a TedX speech on feminism given by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
The young stars’ feminist stances all seek to redefine the term after decades of unpopularity. World leaders like Hillary Clinton also are working toward the same goal. In June, the former Secretary of State said that she doesn’t believe there is “anything controversial” about being labeled a feminist. But pro-feminism messages from entertainers like Watson, Swift and Knowles may reach a wider (and younger) audience.
“In our celebrity focused culture, a young star like Emma Watson has the power to amplify important social messages,” says Katie Hood, a senior fellow at Duke University who teaches a “Women as Leaders” course and who recently became executive director of the anti-domestic violence One Love Foundation. “Having young celebrities and young voices can be a really compelling way to have young people change their futures.”
Click over to Fortune.com to read my full story.
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• Israeli Arab women: Stuck in economic purgatory. Among Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens, there are more women than ever “moving through high school, learning to drive, attending universities, and joining the trailblazing ranks of female lawyers, doctors, tech workers and CEOs.” Yet there is a persistently low number of women matriculating to universities and unemployment remains high. By 2020, the Israeli government aims to reach 42% employment for Arab women, compared to 27% today.
• NYTimes apologizes for Shonda Rhimes article. Over the weekend, TV critic Alessandra Stanley referred to Rhimes as an “angry black woman” in the first paragraph of her story, igniting a rambunctious online protest. The paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, apologized for the “astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch” article while Stanley defended her work, claiming that she never meant to offend anyone.
• Miss America’s shady past? Recently-crowned Miss America Kira Kazantsev reportedly was kicked of out her college sorority for abusive hazing, according to Jezebel. “I was never involved in any physical hazing or any degradation of physical appearance of any kind,” Kazantsev wrote in her personal blog. “This has all been immensely taken out of context and manipulated purposefully because I am now in a public position.”
ON MY RADAR
|Currently, the biggest scholarship program exclusively for women in America requires you to be unmarried, with a mint condition uterus, and also rewards working knowledge of butt adhesive technology.”|
|-- John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight, talking about the Miss America pageant and why he thinks the world still needs feminism.|