The World’s Most Powerful Women: October 5

Updated: Oct 05, 2016 12:26 PM UTC

Since taking office in July, British PM Theresa May has generally kept her head down, rarely veering from political talking points when giving public remarks. But she took a hiatus from that strategy this week by conducting media interviews and joking about taking selfies, buying more of her trademark kitten heels, and whether her scone recipe calls for margarine or butter. (Surprise!—She has used both, and some viewers said those interview topics were sexist.)

The charm offensive is part of the traditional media circuit that takes place during the Conservative party conference this week, but there was a bit more riding on May's ability to endear herself this year.

After months of tiptoeing around specific details of her Brexit plan, she took a big plunge over the weekend when she said she would formally start Britain's exit from the European Union by the end of March 2017. Her remarks were controversial, with some critics fearing she'd locked the U.K. into a deadline the EU could use to its advantage in upcoming negotiations. Her timeline also hints at a "Hard Brexit," which would could concede Britain's access to the bloc's single market, and the pound plummeted to a 31-year-low on that news.

Her announcement of the March 2017 date is considered an attempt to appease her largely Eurosceptic Conservative party ahead of its annual meeting, and her uncharacteristic candor in TV interviews this week has come off as an attempt to win over everyone else.

@clairezillman

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EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Just in time

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova secured a partial victory in the appeal of her two-year suspension for doping yesterday. The Court of Arbitration for Sport chopped nine months off her ban, meaning she could return to tennis right before the French Open and Wimbledon next year. 

Fortune

That was quick

Diane James, who was elected leader of the U.K. Independence Party last month, resigned yesterday after just 18 days on the job, throwing the party into even more chaos.

Financial Times

Traveling light

Mihaela Noroc, a 31-year-old photographer who was born in the capital of Moldova, talks about how she prepares to travel for her project called Atlas of Beauty, which features pictures of women from around the world. You can see her stunning work here.

Wall Street Journal

THE AMERICAS

Controversial cooperation

The leadership of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is under scrutiny yet again after Reuters reported that the Internet company complied with a U.S. government request to scan incoming messages to Yahoo Mail users for specific information provided by intelligence officials. Mayer's cooperation was said to roil other Yahoo executives, and news of it adds to the turmoil surrounding the company that's reeling after disclosing a massive data breach.

Fortune

Activist targets

Female CEOs have a 27% chance of facing activist investors, while male CEOs' likelihood is closer to zero. New research provides this disturbing explanation: When companies announce female leadership, the market tends to react negatively, sending their stock lower, and activists focus on companies they perceive as undervalued.

New York Times

Moving beyond looks

A 15-year-old girl asked Hillary Clinton last night how the candidate could help girls understand “that they are so much more than just what they look like." Clinton said women "need to be proud" of who they are. 

New York Times

ASIA-PACIFIC

Standing firm

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told The Wall Street Journal that Taiwan wouldn’t buckle to pressure by China, while urging the neighboring nation to hold talks with her government. Her landslide victory four months ago gave her party, long in opposition, legislative control, and the shift unsettled Beijing.

Wall Street Journal

Can't hold her back?

This story on Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's first two months in office says the traits that make her unique—her gender and not being a political dynast or a Liberal Democratic Party stalwart—could limit her ability to take on the old-boys' club of city politics, which she's promised to do. 

The Economist

Back at it

One of India's most famous authors Arundhati Roy will publish her first work of fiction in nearly 20 years. Her new book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness follows The God of Small Things, which won Roy the Booker Prize in 1997.

BBC

IN BRIEF

How Republican candidates learned to love working moms 

New York Times

Egyptian women are fighting against proposed virginity tests

Associated Press

This 7-year-old Syrian girl is live-tweeting attacks on Aleppo

Refinery 29

All about Taylor Swift's 'multi-year' deal with AT&T

Fortune

The next issue of British Vogue will be model-free

Mashable

A hospital charged a new mom $39.35 to hold her baby

Vox