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The Broadsheet: November 25th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. The U.S. Defense Department could be getting its first female chief, while Turkey’s president came out swinging against gender equality. I’m Anne VanderMey, subbing in for Caroline Fairchild, who’s on vacation this week. Please e-mail me tips or feedback at and find me on Twitter here. Read on for career advice from some of business’s hottest rising stars on success, mentorship, and getting noticed. Have a good Tuesday.


• A first for the Defense Department? Washington insiders say there’s a woman atop the shortlist to succeed U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who resigned on Monday “under pressure” from the Obama administration. She is Michèle Flournoy, who was the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon before leaving the DoD in 2012. Fortune’s Nina Easton interviewed her in March. “It’s not a terribly peaceful environment,” she said at the time. “We need a robust military as a deterrent.”  Fortune



• “Delicate nature.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan drew fire from women’s rights groups around the globe for comments he made at a women’s conference in Istanbul on Monday. He told the group: “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” adding that women could not do the same work because of their “delicate nature.” Fortune

• The new faces of women in business. Fortune interviewed 10 of corporate America’s young female rock stars to get their advice about standing out, moving up, and finding a mentor. “When it comes to mentorships, you need to be an active, engaged participant,” says Target’s Christina Hennington. “The more you give, the more you’ll get.” Stay tuned for more coverage from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, which takes place next week.  Fortune

• Do African-American girls have a better shot at STEM? A recent study found the notion that science and math are “masculine” fields is less entrenched with black girls than with white ones.  Atlantic

• The world’s most powerful woman. Angela Merkel traveled an unlikely path to her current position, after starting off as a clumsy teenager in East Germany with a bowl-cut.  The New Yorker

• Incremental gains. A new report finds that women now represent 18% of all directors on boards of Fortune 1,000 companies, up from 17% in 2012 and 15% in 2011. 2020 Women on Boards

• From the MPW co-chairs: Danielle Pletka, veteran Middle East watcher and senior VP at the conservative think tank AEI, tells Fortune’s Nina Easton that President Obama’s stance toward Iran represents a “huge mistake.”  Fortune

• Shuffle at Santander. Ana Botín has made her first big move as chair of Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, ousting the bank’s CEO and replacing him with its finance chief.  Fortune

Resume update: Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s senior VP of sparkling brands, is now a board member at Ann Inc., parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft.



Staying sane during business travel. Once the youngest female CEO of a publicly-traded company, Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky says she boosts productivity and avoids burnout by taking conference calls while walking or hiking. “Sitting is the new smoking,” she says.  Fortune

Gender parity at a central bank. While other countries eke out hard-fought gains toward gender parity, women in the central bank of Thailand currently outnumber men 31 to 29.   Bloomberg



Why being bored at work can be a good thing  Fortune

Afghan women shut out of diplomatic talks with Taliban   NYTimes

Tech’s gender gap isn’t just a pay gap  Fortune

Forty years ago, Lego wrote a powerful letter to parents about how gender works Quartz

This woman-led startup is turning flight delays into cash   Fortune

How failure could get you to the C-suite   Fortune


Speak up when you have an idea or an opinion. Wallflowers don’t grow up to the executive suite.

Aicha Evans, VP and general manager of Intel's Platform Engineering Group on how to rise through the ranks.