The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 18

May 18, 2016, 4:57 AM UTC

Good morning, WMPW readers! Sexual harassment is rife in France, India has a new female power broker, and Diane von Furstenberg has named an heir. Want to share some news about an exceptional woman? Find me on Twitter at @laurascohn. Enjoy your Wednesday!


Sexual harassment in France

With all the attention on Donald Trump's attitude towards women, it's worth noting that sexual harassment is not confined to the U.S. business world. In France, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Denis Baupin, resigned recently on such claims. And now, the Paris bureau chief of the Financial Times has penned her own cringe-worthy tale of experiences with French bankers and businessmen. Anne-Sylvaine Chassany writes that in her years working as a business journalist in Paris, she has come across inappropriate behavior from men in power time and again. Consider this: A senior cabinet adviser once sent her a text saying she was "delicious, pretty and lively" and asked her to drinks. She declined. Chassany writes that she did not run into such behavior when she worked in London.

Financial Times


Shut down in Iran
In Iran, eight people were arrested for working for the online modeling business while not donning mandatory head scarfs. Former model Elham Arab, who had become a star for her now-closed Instagram account of her modeling bridal gowns, was questioned by prosecutors on live TV and said she had "bitter experiences" with the industry. Those comments come in disturbing contrast to the image she had portrayed online.
New York Times


Where Nordic nations rule
All hail the Nordic nations. A new study shows that Sweden, Norway, and Finland have the best gender equality in the workplace. The report, which measures female-to-male labor force participation and other factors, also found the "cost of motherhood" was nearly negligible in Italy, Spain, and Belgium.


Life after spice
I'll admit it: I always liked the Spice Girls and the girl power they stood for. Turns out, Geri Horner (Ginger Spice) is still practicing what the group preached. She's written children's books and is a spokeswoman for a writing competition backed by Mattel and parenting site Netmums.


India's next powerful woman
India has had a history of elevating women to powerful political positions, and Mamata Banerjee appears the latest to ascend. The chief minister of West Bengal has taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tax policies and is expected to clinch another term.


Park's prowess
South Korean President Park Geun-hye's efforts to foster entrepreneurship and end reliance on the large business groups called "chaebols" appears to be paying off. She says her country has seen tech startups spring up and that VC investment reached its highest level in 15 years in 2015. 
South China Morning Post


Designs on China
Remember that long yellow cape gown Rihanna wore to the Met gala last year? It was designed by China's Guo Pei, who is getting plenty of competition from other female designers in the country's burgeoning fashion industry.
South China Morning Post


Downgrading progress
Sadly, women aren't making as much progress in U.S. boardrooms as previously thought. Heidrick & Struggles Board Monitor says it no longer expects women to make up half of the new directors in 2024, and instead extended the projection to 2026.
New York Times


A philanthropic princess
They bonded on a trip to New Delhi to speak with female patients with HIV. And now, with a nod to the VC-model, Maverick Collective CEO Kate Roberts and the Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway are recruiting female investors for projects for girls and women in developing countries.
Fast Company


An heir to the wrap dress
Diane von Furstenberg, who famously created the wrap dress, has named an heir. It's a man: British designer Jonathan Saunders.
New York Times


Highly-educated women in the U.S. have a persistent pay gap
Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly of Fox News end feud in TV special

Female Bank of America exec sues over "egregious pay disparity"

Melinda Gates announces $80m in funding for gender gap data
PR Newswire

Kathleen Sebelius says U.S. Supreme Court's Obamacare decision is good for women

Villain in "Iron Man 3" was supposed to be a woman



I understand that my nomination represents something, but to be honest I was never very feminist and I never suffered from being a woman in my career. Really, it was never much of an issue for me.
— Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher, the only woman to head a company in France's benchmark CAC40 index