The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 17

May 17, 2017

In February, the New York Times ran a story titled "More Women in Their 60s and 70s Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire." A month later, the Guardian published a similar take: "Number of women working past 70 in U.K. doubles in four years." That article determined that the end of mandatory retirement requirements is keeping women in the workforce, and that a lack of retirement savings is redoubling the effect. But it also found that women continue to work simply because they want to.

I was reminded of both those articles as I read a story published Monday about Dr. Brenda Milner, a professor of psychology in the department of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal, who, at 98, still conducts her groundbreaking research.

“People think because I’m 98 years old I must be emerita,” she says. “Well, not at all. I’m still nosy, you know, curious.”

More than a half century ago, Milner changed the course of brain science when she—then a newly minted Ph.D.—identified the specific brain organ that is crucial to memory formation. More than six decades later, she's made some professional accommodations befitting a senior senior researcher. She limits her time in the office to three days a week and only works with postgraduates—not graduate students. She explains: "Graduate students need to know you’ll be around for five years or so, and well...”

She continues working, because, as the Times puts its, she sees no reason not to. The institutions she's affiliated with have not asked her to step down. She has funding and a pressing project: investigating how the healthy brain’s intellectual left hemisphere coordinates with its more aesthetic right one in thinking and memory.

Plus, her office is too convenient to not stop in. “I live very close; it’s a 10-minute walk up the hill,” she said. “So it gives me a good reason to come in regularly.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Choppy skies

Discount airline easyJet reported a sharply worse first-half loss yesterday due to a weak British pound and a later-than-usual Easter weekend, when many Europeans travel. CEO Carolyn McCall struck a positive note on the earnings report: "We are seeing an improving revenue per seat trend as well as the continued reduction of competitor capacity growth." Uncertainty over future traffic rights for British airlines in the EU has dogged easyJet since the Brexit vote last year. The airline said it will name a country where it will seek an EU operating license by the summer.

MarketWatch

Jo's jubilee

The one-year anniversary of the murder of British MP Jo Cox in mid-June is expected to be marked by some 100,000 events—picnics, street parties and iftars, the meal eaten by Muslims to break their fast during Ramadan—across the U.K. as part of The Great Get Together, a campaign organized by the Jo Cox Foundation. Those organizing the effort want it to be the largest number of community events since the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Cox was killed on June 16 last year, just days before the Brexit vote. 

Guardian

Fashion forward

Miroslava Duma, a 32-year-old Russian entrepreneur, is founder and chief executive of Fashion Tech Lab, which launched this week. Her new venture will invest in wearable tech—less Apple Watch, more "fabrics made from orange peel" and lab-mined diamonds. Her aim is one that's eluded the wearable tech industry so far: making items stylish enough for fashion-forward consumers.

Financial Times

THE AMERICAS

A bridge for Big Food

New York-based AccelFoods, a venture capital firm that backs natural and organic food startups, was founded in 2013 by managing partners Jordan Gaspar and Lauren Jupiter. It recently reopened its fund to make room for Danone, raising an additional $15 million, as the French dairy giant hunts for the next health food craze. “Companies want access to the trends and the innovation to better understand the market,” Gaspar says. “We’re able to create that bridge.”

Bloomberg

Netting some big fish?

Uber's investigation into ex-engineer Susan Fowler's claims of sexual harassment is expected to conclude this month, and it's reportedly focusing on two executives, according to ReCode. Those under scrutiny are board director Ryan Graves, who oversaw operations—including HR—during Fowler's tenure, and CTO Thuan Pham, whom Fowler says she told about the abuse when she ran out of clear remedies. Uber has endured a stream of high-profile departures since Fowler published her viral blog post about her experience working there. The ride-sharing company declined to comment for ReCode's story.

ReCode

ASIA-PACIFIC

Recipe for success

A great-grandmother from India named Mastanamma is perhaps the world's oldest YouTube star. Mastanamma, who says she is 106, has captured hearts with rustic cooking videos recorded in her remote village. She only cooks with firewood and other natural fuels and is known for her famous watermelon chicken. Her YouTube channel, run by her great-grandson, has some 300,000 subscribers. "Cook a lot of curries and eat well," she says.

BBC

"Compensated dating"

Japan’s shady “JK” or “high school dating” business pairs high school-aged girls with older men in their 30s or 40s. The practice often ends with a sexual service that men pay for. A recent U.S. State Department report on international human rights mentioned the sexual exploitation of kids in Japan, saying that “compensated dating” in particular facilitates the sex trafficking of children. Efforts to curtail the business have amounted to little—partly because so few people in Japan consider it a problem. 

Washington Post

Rights for rape victims?

A medical board in the northern Indian state of Haryana said it must determine whether the case of a 10-year-old girl meets the nation's high legal threshold of "exceptional circumstance" that justifies an abortion. The girl was repeatedly raped by her stepfather and is 20 weeks pregnant. The case, which surfaced after a tip to a police hotline dedicated to crimes against women, is the latest example of both impunity for rapists and a lack of women’s reproductive rights in India.

New York Times

IN BRIEF

Tennis star Maria Sharapova is denied a spot in the French Open

Wall Street Journal

Amsterdam is opening a brothel run by prostitutes to improve working conditions

Guardian

Here’s how Kirsten Gillibrand plans to get paid family leave passed

New York Magazine

Women in their 30s are now having more babies than younger moms in the U.S.

Associated Press

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