Skip to Content

The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 14

Good morning, WMPW readers! Adele and Taylor Swift helped record companies achieve the fastest revenue growth in nearly two decades, J.K. Rowling is helping Universal compete with Disney, and Anita Hill counsels women to read their hate mail. Got a tip for me? Get in touch: or @laurascohn. Have a good day!




Adele’s money machine Two well-known female musicians helped record companies notch up the fastest revenue growth in nearly two decades. Adele and Taylor Swift were the No. 1 and No. 3 top-selling artists last year. (Ed Sheeran came in second.) In all, revenues for the music biz grew 3.2% to $15 billion in 2015, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reported. The growing popularity of streaming services Spotify and Apple Music bolstered sales. “After two decades of almost uninterrupted decline, 2015 witnessed key milestones for recorded music: measurable revenue growth globally; consumption of music exploding everywhere; and digital revenues overtaking income from physical formats for the first time,” gushed Frances Moore, IFPI’s chief executive. Financial Times


Harry battles Mickey
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter character has a new role: savior of Universal Studios’ theme parks, which lag behind those owned by Walt Disney. Now that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, the company has areas based on the boy wizard in four out of its five parks worldwide. Since the first Wizarding World opened several years ago, annual attendance has more than doubled. Universal should write J.K. Rowling a thank-you note.
Wall Street Journal


Speaking out in Cameroon
Kah Walla, Cameroon’s opposition leader and human rights activist, says she will keep up her peaceful protest of government repression even though she was recently detained and then released by police. Walla, the president of the Cameroon People’s Party, was arrested for wearing black as a protest against President Paul Biya, who is said to pay himself a big salary and preside over structural corruption.
New York Times


Vlogging in China 
Jiang Yilei, a Chinese vlogger who likes to talk about her naggy family, has become an influential online personality in the Middle Kingdom. With a fan base of 10 million on Weibo, Jiang could be snapped up as a spokeswoman for a brand in China’s fashion market, which has been hurt by a slowdown in spending. She’s become so popular, a group of venture capitalists have invested almost $2 million in her branded identity.
Business of Fashion


Making the pitch
In a first, candidates for the secretary general of the United Nations have been making their case for the job to the General Assembly. We’ll be watching this closely because of the eight candidates in the running, four of them are women: former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, former Moldovan Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, and the Bulgarian head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.


Park falls short
It looks like the party of South Korean President Park Geun Hye did not win a majority in parliamentary elections. With over 85% of the votes tallied, the Saenuri Party has won just 122 seats. The National Assembly has 300 seats, so Park needed at least 151 to have a majority, and 180 to pass bills unilaterally. That means she’ll be heading into the 2017 presidential election with less political stamina than she’d hoped for.


A savvy substitute
In an interview with CNN, Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald, came to her father’s defense on the issue of women. “I’ve witnessed these incredible female role models that he’s employed in the highest executive positions at the Trump Organization my entire life,” she said. But will it help? A recent Gallup poll, taken before the interview, reported that seven in 10 women have an unfavorable view of the Republican presidential candidate.


Pushing pencils for profit
Caroline Weaver’s pencil shop on New York’s Lower East Side, C.W. Pencil Enterprise, has turned a profit by selling pencils to everyone from high school students to designers to the over-50 set. Sometimes, she says, demand is so high, she and her small staff can’t handle it. Who knew pencils were such a hot commodity?


Power from reading hate mail
Lawyer Anita Hill, who famously accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment back in 1991, says women should read their hate mail. Asked if she had any advice for young women online, she said, “I would tell them to read as much of (the hate mail) as you can stand. I think the mail is quite revealing. It’s revealing of a certain kind of anger towards women, and it’s revealing of a fear of equality—a misunderstanding, a myth of what gender equality means, as some sort of unwarranted threat to men. To some extent, it’s healthy to read them.”


Former Argentine President Cristina Kirchner defends herself
Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth Warren unleashes a Tweetstorm on the banks

Federal regulators propose banning Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos from the blood-testing biz for two years
Wall Street Journal

In the wake of #BringBackOurGirls, Boko Haram hasn’t stopped kidnapping children
Los Angeles Times

Just three women make Restaurant magazine’s list of top chefs
Big Hospitality


Gender equality is at the center of any movement that holds fairness, freedom, and justice as its core values.
— Bono, U2's lead singer, on actress Jennifer Lawrence's outspokenness on the gender pay gap in Hollywood