The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 18

May 18, 2017

France's new president Emmanuel Macron took a page out of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's playbook yesterday by fulfilling his campaign pledge to appoint a cabinet that is gender-balanced. Of the 22 new ministers, 11 are women.

Among the new appointees, many of whom are political newcomers, are Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, who was named sports minister, and Sylvie Goulard, a French politician who will be defense minister.

Canada's Trudeau famously appointed a 50% female cabinet after being elected the nation's 23rd—and second youngest—prime minister, stating he wanted a ministerial team "that looks like Canada" because "it's 2015." Likewise, Hillary Clinton had vowed to appoint a cabinet with gender parity during her 2016 bid for the U.S. presidency, stating in April 2016: "I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50% of America is women."

President Donald Trump, notably, never made such a promise. Of his 23 secretaries who required Senate confirmation, four are women.

Macron, meanwhile, did not deliver on all his campaign pledges. The self-proclaimed feminist who often touted his campaign staff's gender balance, declared in March that he “wished” to appoint a woman as prime minister. Rather than fulfilling that aim, he chose Edouard Philippe, who—in addition to being a (male) center-right moderate and mayor of the Normandy port town of Le Havre—is the author of several political novels whose narrator possesses a misogynistic streak. Quartz has a run-down of a few cringe-worthy passages, including one in which the narrator, a top political aide, ogles at the breasts of a press secretary, whom he describes as a “trophy."

Thankfully, early signs indicate the reality of Macron's government won't reflect Philippe's works of fiction.

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Applying herself

Jordan Bone is a top beauty vlogger with more than 200,000 YouTube subscribers. She's also paralyzed from the chest down. A car accident at age 15 left her dependent on a wheelchair. The 27-year-old started posting positivity videos on YouTube after the accident, but turned to beauty tutorials when commenters asked about her make-up routine. "I just hope this reaches so many people because I believe my story could inspire someone," she says, "just because I felt at my wit's end and that I could never do anything ever again."

BBC

Show and intel

There's worry in the U.S. that President Donald Trump's reported disclosure of sensitive information to Russian officials will discourage other nations from cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence gathering. PM Theresa May says that won't be the case with the U.K. She said Britain is confident in its relationship with the U.S., and will continue to share intelligence with its ally.

Reuters

THE AMERICAS

By design

Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele says he has no problem dressing Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway or First Lady Melania Trump—whom other designers have shunned. The "revolutionary wear" coat Conway wore to the inauguration and Trump's infamous "pussy bow" blouse were both Gucci designs. “We have all kinds of customers,” Michele says. “Everybody is free to do what they want.”

Washington Post

Opening doors

Lauren Williams, the features editor at Essence, talked to The Atlantic about her experiences in media and how her mentor, Vanessa De Luca, Essence’s editor in chief, changed the course of her career. "I had never been any place, even in school, where black women were running things," Williams said. "[De Luca] has shown me what the possibilities are."

Atlantic

That's rich

Forbes yesterday released its list of America's richest self-made women. No. 1 with a fortune of $5.1 billion is Marian Ilitch, who co-founded Little Caesars Pizza with her late husband in 1959. She also owns the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Forbes

ASIA-PACIFIC

The good wife

A new survey shows that some 64% of Indians think a woman's main job is to be a good mother and wife. It ranks third in having traditional views about women’s roles after Indonesia and Russia, and that outlook means there's a tradeoff to pursuing a career. "Indian women cannot be seen shirking from domestic duties and winning accolades at work—at the cost of neglecting the primary role that society has deemed on them,” says Parijat Chakraborty, the executive director at Ipsos Public Affairs, which conducted the survey.

Quartz

The non-royal treatment

Japan's Princess Mako is planning to marry a commoner, Kei Komuro, which means she will have to give up her royal status. Her impending wedding is raising concerns about the shrinking size of Japan's imperial family, which currently has 19 members, 14 of whom are female. The throne can only be passed to male heirs, but the continued departure of female members could mean the family will be unable to fulfill its public duties. 

CNN

Worrisome working conditions

The nonprofit China Labor Watch said it investigated two Chinese factories that produce goods for Ivanka Trump’s brand and sent a letter to the first daughter that said employees at the facilities are forced to work at least 12 1/2 hours a day and at least six days a week. Their monthly salary is some $363. The letter didn’t provide evidence for the claims or identify the factories. Brand president Abigail Klem said the company complies with labor standards and that it's "impossible" to respond to the vague allegations.

Bloomberg

IN BRIEF

Melinda Gates: How I raised a feminist son

Motto

2 flight attendants say Frontier Airlines wouldn’t let them breastfeed on duty

Fortune

Meet the Venezuelan women taking on Maduro

Newsweek

This female knuckleballer will break one of baseball's gender barriers

Washington Post

PARTING WORDS

"It’s OK that you don’t know what the future holds.'"

—Singer Solange Knowles in a letter to her teenage self.

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