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The World’s Most Powerful Women: August 1

Aug 01, 2016

Hillary Clinton set off a Twitterstorm after her historic acceptance speech to the DNC last week. But it had nothing to do with her proposal to create higher-paying jobs—or any other policy for that matter. Instead, Clinton was criticized for not smiling.

The criticism, made in large part by male pundits such as Atlantic editor Steve Clemons, who later apologized, was just the latest in a series of such comments about the Democratic presidential candidate, Fortune's Valentina Zarya reports in this smart piece.

Sadly, this is not the first time a powerful woman has had her facial expression remarked upon. Female world leaders have had their body language scrutinized for years, at a level unheard of for male heads of state. When Angela Merkel became chancellor of Germany in 2005, the BBC reported she "gave the briefest flicker of a smile" upon hearing she'd won. More recently, the Telegraph snarkily reported on the incoming British prime minister with the headline: "Yet another political shock: Theresa May is actually smiling."

For me, telling a woman to smile is insulting. As Fortune's Kristen Bellstrom put it in this story, it is condescending to be told "the correct way to feel." But there are practical considerations, too. Some body language experts say for a politician, too much smiling can be interpreted as submission. And that's the last thing we want in a world leader.

Laura Cohn

@laurascohn

Check out Fortune's Broad Strokes, a new Friday video show that highlights the week's top stories that matter to women, featuring Fortune's Kristen Bellstrom of our sister publication, The Broadsheet, as well as Fortune's Valentina Zarya.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Not over 'til it's over

Saatchi Chairman Kevin Roberts has been asked to take a leave of absence after saying in an interview with Business Insider that the debate over gender diversity in advertising is "over" and that women don't have "vertical ambition." Ouch. To read the interview, check it out here.

Adweek

Bigger than Broadway

Author J.K. Rowling hopes to make her magic last. At the official weekend premiere of the West End's new Harry Potter play, Rowling said she'd like the two-part show—which has had positive reviews during its previews—to go even "wider" than Broadway.

The Times

THE AMERICAS

Ghazala Khan takes on Trump

Ghazala Khan, the mother of a Muslim American soldier who was killed in Iraq, reacted to Donald Trump's implication that she stood silently by her husband as he spoke at the DNC because she was not allowed to speak, with a powerful piece in the Washington Post, in which she wrote: "Without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart." Trump is facing a torrent of criticism for the episode, which The New York Times calls a "potentially pivotal flash point" in the election. You can read Khan's poignant piece here.

New York Times

Sheryl Sandberg's new project

Sheryl Sandberg is writing a book about grieving, following the loss of her husband David Goldberg, who died last year. The book, which may be called "Option B," will not be a sequel to her best-selling tomb, "Lean In," but will instead address recovering from personal loss.

Recode

Regarding Hillary

Speaking of Sandberg, she apparently was one of the many moms who watched Hillary Clinton's DNC speech last week with her kids. Cosmopolitan reports on a sweet series of tweets sent by parents who let their daughters stay up to see Clinton make history. It's a cute piece that may just brighten up your Monday.

CNN

Daughters in chief

Chelsea and Ivanka. Two women whose last names you know. After growing up in the spotlight, they've become strong career women who attempted to humanize their parents to U.S. voters—and to the world—in prime-time slots at the political conventions last month.

Vanity Fair

ASIA-PACIFIC

A female first in Japan

Japan, a country not known to be friendly to working women (to put it mildly), just elected a woman as the first female governor of Tokyo. Yuriko Koike, the former defense minister who speaks English and Arabic, won a major victory over the weekend to become one of the country's most powerful female politicians ever. Koike's win is a defeat for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who did not back her, and the two must now work together on hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

Reuters

Keeping up appearances

The appearance of progress of women in politics, such as the development in Tokyo I mentioned above, does not always guarantee progress itself. That's the message of former Taiwanese culture minister Lung Ying-tai, who tells the South China Morning Post in an interview that despite the ascension of women in politics, we still have to grapple with a multitude of gender equality issues.

South China Morning Post

IN BRIEF

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says he has more emails about Hillary Clinton

CNN

Women applying for high-level teaching jobs in science have an advantage over men in France

Business Standard

Sallie Krawcheck says the film "Equity" is spot-on, when it comes to women in finance

Bustle

Five things women can do to become CEO

Fortune

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