mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner

The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 17

Jul 17, 2017

The world lost a genius and a math pioneer on Saturday when Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman ever to win math's most prestigious honor, died at age 40. The cause was breast cancer, according to Stanford University, where Mirzakhani served as a professor.

Mirzakhani was a ground breaker in her work in theoretical mathematics, which, Stanford says, "read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry."

The Tehran native was also a trailblazer as a woman in the field, winning the Fields Medal in 2014 and breaking the award's streak of 52 consecutive male recipients. The honor is math's highest, given out every four years with up to four mathematicians chosen at a time.

Mirzakhani was also the first girl ever named to Iran's International Mathematical Olympiad team—she won gold medals in the mid-1990s—and last year she was the first Iranian woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences for her "distinguished achievement in original research." She was in good company as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell are all past honorees.

When she won the Fields Medal three years ago, Mirzakhani acknowledged the unparalleled path she'd plowed and recognized what it might mean for girls in the future: "I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani told the Stanford Report. "I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years."

-@clairezillman

Fortune’s annual three-day Brainstorm Tech technology conference kicks off today in Aspen, Co. Be sure to tune into the livestream here to see interviews with Nest Labs CTO Yoky Matsuoka and Instagram COO Marne Levine. They both take the stage on Day One.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Taking off

In a blockbuster move, ITV, the U.K.'s biggest commercial broadcaster, has named EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall as its new chief executive. McCall, a former CEO at Guardian Media Group who landed at No. 22 on Fortune's MPW International list last year, has led the discount airline for seven years. She was hailed as a turnaround artist in 2015 but has faced bumpier conditions of late due to the Brexit vote, the terror threat in Europe, and a glut of new capacity that's pushing down fares. She won't necessarily have an easier go of it at ITV as Britain's television advertising market is heading for its worst year since the financial crash in 2009.

Financial Times

A new doctor in the house

The BBC answered the call of many Doctor Who fans on Sunday by announcing British actress Jodie Whittaker as the 13th—and first female—Time Lord on the drama. Whittaker, 35, said it was "overwhelming, as a feminist" to earn the role.

BBC

Charting a course

Athletic apparel brand Reebok mocked President Donald Trump's comments to French First Lady Brigitte Macron by posting a simple chart labeled "When it is appropriate to say, 'You're in such good shape...beautiful.'" It's not even merited, the brand says, when you're at the gym working out next to a woman. 

Fortune

THE AMERICAS

Buttoning up

Even as the game of golf tries to update its stuffy reputation, the LPGA told players earlier this month that it will enforce a new dress code that bars plunging necklines and leggings, unless they're worn under skirts. Instagram "golf babes" have gained popularity recently so, as Golf Digest argues, this move could be an attempt by the LPGA "to set an entirely different tone in an effort to command respect and separate itself as a highly different, more professional product."

Golf

First aid

Brenda Fitzgerald took over as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week as the agency stares down the Trump administration's proposed budget cut of 17%. Fitzgerald says she'll prioritize a wide range of public health issues—fighting infectious disease, strengthening early childhood development—as the agency faces the potential reductions. She also identifies herself as a “strong advocate for vaccines” and a supporter of reliable contraception access—two issues that the new administration has scrutinized.

Wall Street Journal

Purchasing power

As Americans develop increasingly polarized views of the Trump family, Ivanka Trump's clothing company appears to have attracted a new and growing block of customers: women who are buying her clothes to make a political statement. Like her father, Ivanka has pledged to step away from the daily operations of her company, but the business has nevertheless evolved along with her political activities. 

Washington Post

ASIA-PACIFIC

Thick skinned

Fortune's Beth Kowitt has the story of how Mongolian entrepreneur Khulan Davaadorj launched a successful skincare line called LHAMOUR despite the headwinds businesswomen face there. "Because it's a developing country and because it only has 3 million people, it's quite difficult to be an entrepreneur especially when you're young and a female," she says.

Fortune

Mixed messages

The Trump administration will host "Made in America" week starting today to promote products made in the United States. The Washington Post points out that Trump's own company outsources the manufacturing of many of its goods overseas and, as a new WaPo investigation makes clear, Ivanka Trump's company does the same. Using clothing labels, The Post traced her brand's products to Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Washington Post

IN BRIEF

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop criticizes Trump's remark to French first lady

Reuters

Angela Merkel says she'll serve a full four-year term if re-elected

Bloomberg

U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirms special entry for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya

The Hill

BetterWorks CEO is hit with the latest Silicon Valley sexual harassment suit

Fortune

PARTING WORDS

"Surround yourself with smarter people than you and be brave enough to listen to them."

—Actress Halle Berry on the best business advice she's ever received.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions