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The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 27

Good morning, WMPW readers! A new study shows more companies in Europe are putting women on their boards, India is trying to make women feel safer, and New York has a new media maven. Want to share some buzz on a remarkable woman? Get in touch, at: laura.cohn@gmail.com or @laurascohn. Happy Wednesday!

THE BIG STORY

All hail Norway A new study tracking the presence of women on the boards of Europe’s 600 largest companies has some good news. Over the last five years, the percentage of women on boards at big firms in Europe has nearly doubled—to 25% from 13.9%. The study, conducted by Brussels non-profit European Women on Boards, says the jump is due to firms adding non-executive female directors. So which countries’ boards have the highest percentage of women? Norway garnered the No. 1 slot with 38.7%; followed by Sweden (34.6%), France (34.4%), Finland (31.6%), Belgium (27%), and Denmark (26.5%). European Women on Boards

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA



Recovering from terror
Beatrice Delvaux, the editor of Belgian newspaper Le Soir, reached out to Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany to help Belgium cope with the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks. She pled with France to help stop the Francophone jihadists. “It is not that the situation is hopeless,” she wrote, in the Spanish newspaper El Pais. “It is that we need you.”
El Pais

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Borrowing from the Iron Lady?
Nicola Sturgeon, head of the Scottish regional government, is running a billboard campaign that her opponents have blasted as too similar to one used by Margaret Thatcher. Sturgeon’s ad says: “Don’t just hope for a better Scotland, vote for one.” Thatcher’s, from 1979, said: “Don’t just hope for a better life. Vote for one.” Sturgeon has chalked the criticism up to the Labour party’s desperation.
Telegraph

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Still riding in cars with boys
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia said he wants to increase female participation in the workforce to 30% from 22%. On the issue of allowing women to drive, he did not close the door completely but said: “We hope that there would be positive changes in [the] future in this respect.”
Al Arabiya

ASIA-PACIFIC



Panic button protocol
In a victory for Maneka Gandhi, India’s minister for women and child development, mobile phones in India will be required to have a panic button next year. The move comes as officials face pressure to make the country a safer place for women.
Bloomberg

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Buying a bridesmaid
A new business has sprung up in China: the rent-a-bridesmaid service. To me, it sounds like a plot line for another Wedding Crashers movie. But in China, where bridesmaids have to be single, the practice has become trendy among the country’s new rich, who want to emulate Western wedding customs. If the bride and groom are older, they can have trouble finding unmarried friends for their wedding party.
Financial Times

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Driven by women
Tata, India’s biggest car company, is shifting its focus to women by putting advertorials in lifestyle magazines. It is also partnering with the Cartoon Network’s popular “Ben 10” character in an effort to target mothers, and it’s considering hiring women instructors to teach female customers how to drive.
Business Standard

THE AMERICAS



Cabinet of women
Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won four more primaries this week, has said that if she wins the U.S. presidential race, half of her Cabinet will be made up of women. “Well, I am going to have a Cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women,” she said. I wonder who she’ll put in her old job at the State Department.
The Hill

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Media maven
Pamela Wasserstein, whose family owns New York magazine, will take on the role of chief executive of New York Media, the parent company of the publication. With ad sales declining, Wasserstein faces a challenging time for the industry, but she seems to be keeping an open mind. “Any media company is a laboratory right now,” she said.
New York Times

IN BRIEF


Team sports for women in Afghanistan fall apart
New York Times


Could U.S. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen surprise the markets and hike rates later this year?
Fortune


Why one woman entrepreneur wants to kill the phrase ‘women entrepreneurs’
Entrepreneur


Veteran TV director Lesli Linka Glatter, of “West Wing” and “ER” fame, will be honored by American Film Institute
Hollywood Reporter


Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus says HBO’s “Veep” is not a parody
Time


Has feminism become a brand?
New Republic


Women rebuild Nepal a year after earthquake
New York Times

PARTING WORDS

Refugees are not numbers, they are human beings like you and me. Except that they have seen unimaginable horror, experienced unthinkable hardship and risked their lives to get here.
— Jordan's Queen Rania Al Abdullah, who visited Lesbos, the Greek island, with the International Rescue Committee