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The World’s Most Powerful Women: October 25

Oct 25, 2016

Two bakers from North Carolina are on a mission to make the political season in the United States a tiny bit sweeter. And I need little convincing these days, so here's their story:

With the help of a clever hashtag, Susannah Gebhart, owner of Old World Levain Bakery, and her business partner Maia Surdam, a baker and historian, are trying to revive a centuries-old tradition: "muster" or "election" cake.

The treats harken back to America's colonial period when women would give the dense, naturally-leavened (boozy) fruit and spice cakes to men who'd been summoned or "mustered" for military training by British troops. After the American Revolution, women—lacking their own right to vote—mixed up massive batches of the same cake and brought monstrous amounts of it to early voting sites to "muster" the casting of ballots. (A recipe from 1796 calls for ten pounds of butter, fourteen pounds of sugar, and one quart of brandy.) The rebranded "election" cakes marked a time when Election Day had a spirit as festive as Christmas; when voting was a celebration, not, as it seems now, a point of intense discord.

The effort to reintroduce the cake for the 2016 election cycle began at a baking summit in June, according to Bon Appétit, and the brain trust of bakers who started it are eager to see how different people interpret the relic of a recipe. And they gave it a slogan fit for the current era: #MakeAmericaCakeAgain. Naturally.

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Prepare for the Pirates

Iceland's Pirate Party—a collection of anarchists, hackers, libertarians, and Web geeks—could gain power in the nation's elections on Saturday, less than four years after its launch. Its rise has surprised even its founder, Birgitta Jónsdóttir. When asked whether she could have envisioned the party's rapid ascent, she responded: "No way."

Washington Post

Discouraging disclosure

A group of female Labour MPs in the U.K. have asked the AG to stop the sexual history of rape complainants from being used to discredit their evidence in court. The call comes after such a circumstance occurred in the rape case against footballer Ched Evans, who was acquitted. If the trend continues, the MPs said, it "will reduce the number of victims presenting their cases to the police for fear of having their private lives investigated and scrutinized."

Guardian

The magic word

An English county council has launched a campaign against sexual violence and abuse that gives women a code word to make the bar scene safer. Women are supposed to "Ask for Angela" if they want a bartender to help them get out of an uncomfortable situation or call them a taxi. The campaign has gone viral and some are suggesting a nationwide rollout.

New York Times

THE AMERICAS

Doing time

Kathleen Kane was once viewed as a rising political star in Pennsylvania's Democratic party, but the former state AG is now headed to prison. She was sentenced yesterday to 10 to 23 months in jail for leaking grand jury documents to a local newspaper in an effort to embarrass her political foe. She then lied about it under oath.

Wall Street Journal

Reaching out to Rice

London-based asset manager RWC has a new hire—RiceHadleyGates, the consultancy former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped found in 2009. RWC, the latest fund house to hire former policymakers or government officials, is turning to the firm to assess geopolitical risk.

Financial Times

A plus-size opportunity

Christine Hunsicker, who's sold startups to Yahoo and Facebook, talks about her company Gwynnie Bee—a subscription retail services like Rent the Runway that only serves sizes 10-32.

Fast Company

ASIA-PACIFIC

Dissing dad

When Cheuk Nang Holdings executive vice chairman Gigi Chao announced her civil union to her female partner, Chao's father (and current boss) offered $65 million to any man who could woo his daughter into a heterosexual marriage. He doubled the offer in 2014, prompting Chao to write in an open letter that men "are just not for me." Her outspokenness on LGBT issues in Asia—where they are still taboo—landed her at No. 1 on the FT's list of top LGBT execs. 

Financial TImes

Rival uprisings

Feminism in South Korea is gaining momentum, but it's colliding with another growing phenomenon: misogyny. Men's angst over a floundering economy and the uneven sex ratio that's left many of them unmarried is fueling a men's rights movement that's gone mainstream.

Quartz

IN BRIEF

Man disparages yoga pants as "the absolute worst thing;" 300 women parade through his neighborhood wearing them

Washington Post

Hillary Clinton's campaign was worried about her foundation's huge gender pay gap

CNN Money

Baird appoints Lydia Xu as head of China investment banking

PR Newswire

Actress Susan Sarandon joins the protest of a North Dakota pipeline

Fortune

Meet Susanna Mälkki from Finland, one of the most talked-about conductors in classical music

Wall Street Journal

British writer Zadie Smith on becoming whole

T Magazine

PARTING WORDS

"I also think that people get so used to seeing robotic surrogates on TV—the fact that I’m unfiltered is something that strikes people."

--Republican strategist and anti-Trump advocate Ana Navarro talking with Fortune about her recent popularity.

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