The World's Most Powerful Women: October 6

October 05, 2016

An Australian entrepreneur and marketing expert is taking a stand against the term #girlboss. The phrase exploded after American fashion startup founder Sophia Amoruso used it as the title of her “Lean In for misfits” memoir, which became a bestseller. But Franziska Iseli told the Sydney Morning Herald that she’s tired of seeing #girlboss pop up as a hashtag at her speaking events.

Iseli says she dislikes the term because it glosses over the difficulties of being a businesswoman.

“It almost portrays a false image of what it means to be a leader, or a female entrepreneur; it makes it look easy… I think it’s important we celebrate women but also celebrate the ups and down…and [admit] we make mistakes,” she said.

Iseli also says the gender definer is not necessary. “We don’t say ‘girl employee’ or ‘girl teacher,’ so why do we need to justify ourselves with this title,” she says.

On that point, Iseli is in line with other high-profile women who are fed up with the use of gendered adjectives in the workplace. Women at Google held “Lady Day” to protest a shareholder referring to CFO Ruth Porat as “the lady CFO.” The tongue-in-cheek demonstration saw male and female employees temporarily change their titles to reflect their sex, such as “Lady Creative Engineer.” Nike and Serena Williams, meanwhile, made a powerful statement by doing just the opposite; airing an ad that removed the word “female” from a phrase characterizing the tennis star as the “greatest female athlete ever.”

The words “women” or “female” are often used as a way to recognize the accomplishments of women who operate in workplaces and a wider world where they are not treated as men’s equals, but Iseli, for one, is over having her achievements qualified this way.

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

So long, Margaret
In a speech to close out the Conservative conference yesterday, PM Theresa May made an obvious shift to the left, signaling her party’s break with the free-wheeling, free-market, globalist reputation it burnished under Margaret Thatcher.
Fortune
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Playing defense
U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd is fielding accusations of racism after stating in a speech this week that British businesses are hiring too many foreigners—even as the U.K. enjoys record-high levels of employment. When asked if she was “sanctioning a form of racism,” she said the question was disgraceful. “The fact is,” she said, “we should be able to have a conversation about immigration.”
The Independent
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Flying solo
British architect Amanda Levete talks about pursuing her own practice after the death of her ex-husband and business partner. She’s recently won commissions in London, Lisbon, and Paris.
New York Times

THE AMERICAS

Shifting focus
Elizabeth Holmes’ embattled startup Theranos is shifting away from its direct-to-consumer blood tests to focus on its “minilab” device that’s sold to healthcare providers. The change means it’s shutting down its wellness centers and laying off 40% of its staff.
Fortune
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Questionable competition
Reuters has a deep dive into the private venture capital arm belonging to Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson and the rest of the Johnson clan, which directly competes with Fidelity funds for lucrative deals. Corporate governance experts say the arrangement poses a troubling conflict of interest.
Reuters
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No pay gap in Stars Hallow
Gilmore Girls actresses Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are making $750,000 per episode for the show’s revival that will stream on Netflix next month. That makes them the highest-paid actors in a drama series and the second-highest paid actors in TV.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Hurdles to employment
The Harvard Kennedy School recently took on the puzzling question of why women make up nearly half the population of India but less than a quarter of its paid workforce. It found that family pressure is keeping women from taking jobs or sticking with them if they accept an offer.
Live Mint
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Waiting to wed
Australian pop star Kylie Minogue is advocating for marriage equality in her home country by delaying her upcoming wedding until same-sex marriage is legal. The government has proposed holding a vote on the matter in February.
BBC

IN BRIEF

Why Hillary Clinton’s answer to a girl’s body image question actually matters
Fortune

Female bankers have it tough in Switzerland
Finews

This is the kind of sexism women deal with in med school
Washington Post

Silicon Valley’s on a quest to make periods cool
The Ringer

Model Chrissy Teigen switches Twitter account to private because she’s “not strong enough”
Time

Poll finds most working moms would rather stay home
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

“How is it that the dudes lucked out and got chairs over the last 20 years of VP debates minus one? Want a real test—try standing in [heels] for 90 mins.”
--Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, commenting on the fact that her 2008 debate is the only one in recent years that required participants to stand.

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