The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 25

Jan 25, 2017

The question facing the hundreds of thousands of people who turned out for the Women’s March is what to do next. The answer for some participants is to pursue public office.

So how exactly, does a political novice get involved? The new mayor of Sonoma, California—33-year-old Rachel Hundley who until recently operated a fried chicken food truck—told me how she started her first campaign.

First, she built a network in her city through coffee date after coffee date. She wrote a campaign mission statement she could believe in, touted her experience as a lawyer and small business owner, and was sure to take advantage of any and all free resources—from complimentary political advice by way of Burning Man to hometown friends who were willing to work the phones.

She committed some missteps along the way. Her approach to door-knocking was ill-conceived—“I found out later that there’s a more strategic way to do it"—and her grand plans for live campaign events flopped. “That was not a good strategy; my campaign launch party had like 10 people,” she says.

But in a matter of a few years she went from having a passing interest in politics to city council member to mayor of the city of 10,800. And she has a clear message for anyone considering a career in politics: do it. “The worst thing that can happen is you lose,” she says, “but even in the process of campaigning—of meeting people—you can take something away that’s positive.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

No back-up

Theresa May's government lost a legal case yesterday when the U.K. Supreme Court ruled that it needed parliamentary authority before triggering Brexit. The outcome is a victory for investment manager Gina Miller, who helped file the initial lawsuit. After the decision, Miller suggested the EU referendum had created a climate in which anyone asking questions about Brexit was "branded as traitors." She blasted politicians as failing to defend her and others with "legitimate concerns" about the process.

BBC

Getting closer

Scotland took another step toward a second independence referendum after the Brexit legal decision. In addition to ruling against May's government, the highest court said that regional legislatures—like the parliament in Edinburgh—have no legal rights to challenge Brexit. “It is becoming clearer...that Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the U.K.,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Bloomberg

Walking out of work

Pro-choice Irish women are going on strike on March 8 to protest the Catholic country’s strict ban on abortion. Demonstrators will skip work on a Wednesday for a nationwide strike, during which they will demand that the Irish government holds a referendum to repeal the amendment to Ireland’s constitution that effectively criminalizes abortion and gives equal rights to life to the unborn.

Motto

THE AMERICAS

Small biz smackdown

Linda McMahon, the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment and President Donald Trump's nominee for head of the Small Business Administration, testified at her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday and laid out her plans to be an advocate for small-business owners. Fortune's Jeremy Quittner has the run-down of what she pledged.

Fortune

Already winners

Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and Joi McMillon broke history yesterday with their Oscar nominations. For Streep, the Best Actress nod is her 20th overall, which makes her the most nominated performer in Oscars history. Davis became the first and only black actress to receive three Oscar nominations, while McMillon is the first black woman to earn an Oscar nomination in film editing.

Fortune

Pumping the brakes

GM's Mary Barra was one of three automaker CEOs to meet with Trump yesterday. The president reportedly told the execs that U.S. environmental regulations are "out of control" and pledged to make it easier for the companies to open assembly plants in the U.S.

Chicago Tribune

ASIA-PACIFIC

Worth the wait

Yoshiko Shinohara lost her father at age six, got divorced in her 20s, and never graduated from college. But she is now Japan's first self-made female billionaire at age 82. The source of her fortune is TempStaff, a staffing agency she founded in 1973 in a one-bedroom apartment in Tokyo. Shinohara owns a 25% stake in the company that now has revenue of $4.5 billion, which puts her over the nine-figure mark. "I say one of my personal traits is that I hate to lose," she said.

Money

Not a figment of fiction

Actress Priyanka Chopra commented recently on whether fictional female presidents that appear on screen could translate to real-life. "[India] had Indira Gandhi as our female prime minister in the ’80s, you know. Of course, there’s England and there’s Australia…so many countries which have had female leaders.” The prospect of a female president in the U.S. is " definitely not a dream that’s too far away," she said. 

Motto

IN BRIEF

7-year-old who tweeted from Aleppo begs Trump to help children of Syria

Guardian

Kellyanne Conway says she has Secret Service protection because of the media

Fortune

How the U.S. global gag rule threatens health clinics across Kenya and Uganda

Guardian

People are rallying in support of a Palestinian-American Women’s March organizer after right-wing attacks

Buzzfeed

Nova Scotia village with 65 residents holds one of the smallest Women's Marches

Guardian

Two Democrats just introduced a bill to protest Trump’s anti-abortion move

New York Magazine

PARTING WORDS

"What do we want? Data! When do we want it? Forever!"

--500 Women Scientists—a group opposing Trump's approach to topics like climate change—at the Women's March in D.C. on Saturday.

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