By lauracohn
July 7, 2016

A striking image accompanying a story in the respected German newspaper Die Welt caught my eye recently. The image, of Germany’s Angela Merkel, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, and the U.K.’s Theresa May, appeared under the headline: “In the hands of these women is the future of Europe.” It reminded me of a February 1999 Time cover depicting Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers as “The Committee to Save the World” after the Asian economic crisis.

The piece in Die Welt, which argued that women were on the scene to “clean up the mess created by the men” following Brexit, came amid other odes to the new posse of female power players in Europe. The Guardian chimed in by noting that Anna Soubry, the business minister who is backing May for Tory leader, bluntly said, “We’ve had enough of these boys messing about.”

The Financial Times went even further, arguing that in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU, Britain’s male leaders did not act all that statesmanlike, but Merkel, Sturgeon, and May behaved like “the grown-ups in the Brexit playground.” Fair enough. But Merkel is under siege at home, Sturgeon may be about to embark on a difficult independence referendum from the U.K., and May is not yet in the prime minister’s chair. The hard work for all three is yet to come.

Laura Cohn



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