The World’s Most Powerful Women: August 7

Aug 07, 2017

Valentina Zarya here, filling in for Claire this week.

Over the weekend, an "anti-diversity manifesto" created by an anonymous Google employee went viral. “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” is a 10-page document published by a software engineer makes several arguments, one of which pertains to gender diversity (or the lack thereof).

The author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

On Saturday, Danielle Brown, Google’s VP for diversity and inclusion, sent a letter to employees saying the employee’s memo “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and is “not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages."

The troubling post has gone public at an inopportune time for Google; the tech giant is currently battling a wage discrimination investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles. The company's annual diversity report in June found that 31% of its employees are women, a number that has remained unchanged from 2016.

-@valzarya

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Time for a change?

In the latest piece of news about discrimination in British media, the co-founder of the U.K. Women’s Equality party, Catherine Mayer, is suing her former employer, Time magazine, for gender and age discrimination. (Time is owned by Time Inc., Fortune's parent.) The suit comes on the heels of revelations that male journalists at the BBC and Financial Times vastly out-earn their female counterparts.

Guardian

Bikini season in Saudi

As part of his drive to modernize Saudi Arabia's economy, Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced plans for a beach resort where special laws will allow women to wear bikinis. Elsewhere in the country, women are expected to cover their skin and hair when they are outside; just last month, a young woman was arrested for wearing a miniskirt in an abandoned village. 

Telegraph

THE AMERICAS

Ortega is out

Venezuela’s Supreme Court voted to suspend Attorney General Luisa Ortega this past Friday. Ortega is an ally of President Nicolás Maduro, who recently broke with the government over its decision to convene a so-called constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. Ortega has been a sharp critic of the assembly and will be investigated for alleged abuses of power.

Wall Street Journal

First daughter-in-law

Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump has launched a “real news” video on the president’s official Facebook page, listing his achievements from the past week and positive stories (while omitting news that has gained negative coverage). Trump is married to the president's eldest son Eric.

Independent

She's not shaking it off

Colorado talk show host David Mueller is suing Taylor Swift, claiming she wrongfully accused him of groping her—an accusation which led to his being fired. Swift is countersuing, saying she wants Mueller to serve "as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts," according to her lawsuit. The trial is expected to begin Tuesday.

Hollywood Reporter

ASIA-PACIFIC

A Garden for the gap

There are four times as many male as female programmers in China. Beijing-based Coding Garden is hoping to change that by offering girls a free coding course. Interestingly, Coding Garden's founder, Chen Bin, does not consider himself a feminist.

South China Morning Post

Culture clash in Cambodia

Cambodian actress  Denny Kwan has been barred from appearing in movies for a year after the Southeast Asian country's Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts deemed that her style of dress had violated a 2010 code of conduct relating to “virtue” and “ethics.” In addition to media censorship, the Cambodian government also promotes the Chbab Srey, or “Rules for Girls"—a set of guidelines claiming that women must be polite, shy and work to make their husbands happy.

South China Morning Post

IN BRIEF

NASA’s ‘planetary protector’ on what everyone gets wrong about her job

Fortune

Ta-Ta Towel: Why the world has gone mad for a towel bra

BBC

The top 35 female composers in classical music

Washington Post

Fox News Host Eric Bolling suspended in harassment scandal

Fortune

Monopoli waits for Ivanka to seal Puglia’s celebrity status

Guardian

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