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The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 6

Good morning, WMPW readers! The United Nations may get its first female secretary general, a new law in Japan forces large companies to reveal their plans to promote women, and a former Brazilian nanny has become a successful hair care business owner. Got a tip for a future issue? Reach out to me at: or @laurascohn. Have a great Wednesday!





A female first at the UN? Now that New Zealand has put forth former PM Helen Clark as a nominee for secretary general of the United Nations, there are four women in the running for the post. Along with Clark, former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, and the Bulgarian head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, are up for the job. Clark, currently the chief of the UN Development Programme, accepted her government’s nomination with utmost grace. “It is an extremely challenging position, but I’m used to that,” she said. The world body, which has never had a female secretary general, has been under pressure to select a woman for the job ever since the presidents of its General Assembly and Security Council urged the nomination of female candidates. The new secretary general is likely to be named in September, and expected to take office in January—the same month a new U.S. president will be sworn in. Will both jobs be held by women? Time


Girding Google
European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager won’t leave Google alone. Vestager said in an interview that the EU is “advancing” its probe on the Adsense ad service and Android mobile system belonging to Alphabet, the search-engine’s parent. At issue: whether the firm is abusing its dominance. This follows a move last spring when Vestager filed formal charges against Google for giving “an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”
Wall Street Journal


Cuts that feel good
Interest-rate cuts to below zero in Europe and Japan are a good thing for the global economy, says IMF chief Christine Lagarde. While Lagarde also acknowledges the slowdown in economic momentum worldwide, she doesn’t seem overly worried. When it comes to gauging the economic outlook, she said, “We are on alert, not alarm.”
Wall Street Journal


An option to opt out
As we reported yesterday, flight crew unions at Air France have been upset by the airline’s requirement that female flight attendants don headscarves upon arrival in Tehran. In the latest update, Air France has responded, announcing that female crew members can skip flights to Tehran altogether if they don’t want to wear a headscarf “for personal reasons.”


Pulling back the curtain on Japan Inc.
A new law in Japan will require large companies to reveal not only how many female employees and managers they have, but also what plans they have to promote them. Given Japan’s shrinking labor force, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs as many happy female workers as he can get. 


Powerful in Pakistan…
From the perspective of Kanza Javed, a young Pakistani author, the environment for women in her country “is changing for the better.” Noting that women have made advances in the non-profit sector, Javed points out that it was a woman who brought her country its first Oscar. Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the award for best documentary for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” a film about honor killing. In fact, it was Obaid-Chinoy’s second win at the Academy Awards.
Times of India


…but exploited in India
Activists say female workers in the high-end shoe business in India are being mistreated by the industry, which pays those who work from home less than the minimum wage.
Business of Fashion


A move for Megyn?
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly may be moving on. Kelly, who’s become somewhat of a nemesis to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, told Variety that she may leave the network this fall, when her contract expires. Trump has called Kelly “crazy,” and said, after a debate, “there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Kelly told the entertainment news site, “I don’t like being the story. I think it raises real First Amendment issues.”


Following the curli-ques
A simple decision—to stop straightening her curly hair—changed the course of Zica Assis’s life. After a futile search for a stylist and hair product to manage her natural locks, the former nanny and cleaning lady enrolled in hairdressing school, tested concoctions on her (very patient) brother, and launched a hair care empire. Her Beleza Natural salons and Super Relaxante product are now a multi-million dollar business.


The board bubble
Male directors say they’re struggling to find qualified women to fill board seats. Here’s a thought: look beyond the old boys’ network.


Clinton loses to Sanders in Wisconsin
New York Times

Beyonce opens up about feminism and her new athletic wear line

University of Connecticut women’s basketball team wins its fourth title in a row
New York Times

Valeant reduces its female viagra sales force

Camilla Al-Fayed, daughter of former Harrods owner, is opening a vegan restaurant in London
Big Hospitality

Here’s what it’s like to staff the Middle East’s first women’s crisis center



To be able to leave the outside world behind each night when we go to sleep, we need to first recognize that we are more than our struggles and more than our victories and failures.
— Arianna Huffington