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The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 8

Good morning, WMPW readers! Britain’s push to get more women on corporate boards may have an unintended consequence, the fashion industry is making an effort to protect migrant workers in Turkey, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye is facing a key test. Got a tip for me? Get in touch, at: laura.cohn@gmail.com or @laurascohn. Have a great weekend!

THE BIG STORY

British brain drain The recent initiative by the U.K. government to get more women to serve on corporate boards was a good thing—in theory. But it seems to have had an accidental side effect. With more women moving to non-executive directorships at public and private companies, it appears that firms now have fewer females to tap for management and executive positions. “All the focus on women on boards could have an unintended consequence of taking women out of the highest executive roles early,” says Michelle Pinggera, a partner and international chief of staff at Goldman Sachs. Female execs say they like holding board positions because it gives them a more flexible work environment. Last year, more than 25% of the board positions at FTSE-100 companies were held by women. The U.K. government has a target of 33% for 2020. Financial Times

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Stepping up safeguards
The fashion industry is trying to ensure that refugees from Syria are not being exploited in their factories in Turkey by increasing plant inspections and helping migrants acquire proper papers. The Business & Human Rights Resource Center has reported that there were at least a quarter million illegal Syrian refugees working in the country.
Quartz

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France says “non” 
After more than two years of legislative wrangling, a new French law makes it illegal to pay for sex. Anyone caught breaking the law will have to pay a fine of €3,750 or $4,274.
BBC

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When thin is too thin
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority said that a model in a Gucci ad looked “unhealthily thin.” Gucci, for its part, defended the ad, saying the models were “toned and slim.”
New York Times

ASIA-PACIFIC



A test in South Korea
South Korean President Park Geun-hye faces a key test in a general election later this month. At issue: whether her ruling Saenuri Party gets a majority in the National Assembly—allowing her to push ahead with her tough stance on North Korea—or loses out to those in the reformist opposition parties. If opposition parties gain seats in the National Assembly, Park’s government will go into the 2017 presidential election with much less stamina.
Nikkei Asian Review

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The envy of working moms everywhere
Educated, middle-class working women in India are lucky. Why? They have nearby extended family and cheap household labor, two key support systems working women in other parts of the world would love to have.
Quartz

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Girl power in India
Nita Ambani—wife of Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person—is raising her profile by working on the marketing strategy at the telecom division of oil and gas company Reliance Industries. With $57 billion in revenue, Reliance is one of India’s most valuable companies.
Forbes

THE AMERICAS


 
Fed fest
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen appeared on stage with her three male predecessors in an unusual event that was supposed to be about leadership but inevitably turned to a discussion of the economy. Yellen used the New York appearance, which cost $1,000 a ticket, to offer a reassuring assessment of the U.S. economic outlook. “This is an economy on a solid course, not a bubble economy,” she said.
New York Times

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The high cost of violence
The McKinsey Global Institute says that violence against women could cost the U.S. a massive $500 billion a year, considering the emotional toll, medical costs, and lost earnings that female victims endure.
Fortune

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Aye aye, Kate
Women are shaking up the traditionally male-dominated travel business. Take Kate McCue, the first American woman to become the captain of a cruise ship. “There’s a unique challenge in overcoming the stereotype of what a captain should be, i.e. what ‘he’ looks like, sounds like, and even walks like,” McCue says.
Mashable

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A gap that won’t close
Being open about salaries should narrow the gender wage gap, right? Not always. Buffer, a social media start-up that prides itself on “radical transparency,” still has a pay gap of roughly $10,000 between male and female workers.
Fast Company

IN BRIEF


Ad empowers China’s “leftover women”
Fortune


J.K. Rowling’s chair sells for $394,000 at auction
Time


The CEO of Girl Scouts speaks out on the importance of empowering girls
Motto


A timely exhibit of female photographers from Iran and the Arab world opens today
Washington Post


An MTV show that led to a drop in teenage pregnancy
Fortune

 

PARTING WORDS

Pick the hill you choose to die on.
—Phyllis Borzi, the U.S. assistant labor secretary who advocated a proposal that makes retirement-savings advisers favor clients' investment interests over their own.