The World’s Most Powerful Women: June 6

June 6, 2016, 4:52 AM UTC

Good morning, WMPW readers! A U.K. university is closing its gender pay gap in a radical way, Japan’s plan to advance women suffers a setback, and Michelle Obama takes on Trump. Also, be sure to check out the new 2016 ranking of the Fortune 500, out today on And if you want to pass on some news about a powerful woman, you can find me on Twitter at @laurascohn. Have a great Monday!


A university closes its gender pay gap

Talk about taking the bull by the horns. A U.K. university is wiping out its gender pay gap by providing female professors with a special salary hike. Officials at the University of Essex, which has a pay gap of just 3%, say they are moving quickly because they were impatient about the issue. I say "just 3%" because a report by Times Higher Education shows that female professors in the U.K. make about 6% less than men. For full-time academics, the gap is 11%—about where it is in the U.S., a study shows. The issue of pay at U.K. universities has come up recently as lecturers have been striking over salaries. Essex's move means the affected women will get an average bump of 4,000 pounds (roughly $5,800). Universities with even bigger pay gaps should take action, too.



Running in Rome
Lawyer Virginia Raggi is running to become the next mayor of Rome. If she wins, Raggi would not only be the first woman to hold the post, she would be yet another populist party member taking on the political establishment in Europe.


Alienated by ads
Consultancy Britain Thinks discovered that financial services ads are not attracting money from women because they're aimed at wealthy older men.
Financial Times


Setting up solar power
Meet Daisy Karimi, the Kenyan engineer running Strauss Energy, which makes and installs roofing tiles that double as solar panels. Given that nearly 60% of Kenyan homes can't get electricity from the power grid, it's quite a service.
Huffington Post


Setback in Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal of having 30% of management jobs held by women by 2020 seemed awfully ambitious. It was. Officials have scaled back the goal, and women in powerful positions, such as Miho Otani, the first female captain of a destroyer-class vessel in Japan, say men have to change their attitude toward women for the program to work.
Financial Times


Standing tall in Taiwan
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's first female president, isn't letting a recent personal attack by Beijing stand in her way. On the anniversary of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, she pressed mainland China for more rights.
South China Morning Post


A female first in India
Nita Ambani, the wife of India's richest person, has a new role. Ambani, whom Forbes calls the first lady of Indian business, is the first Indian woman to be selected as an International Olympic Committee member.
Live Mint


FLOTUS talks about Trump
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has waded into the presidential campaign. In a commencement speech at the City College of New York, she did not mention Donald Trump by name but did refer to his potential policies. "We don't build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere," she said, in an address worth watching.
New York Times


Winning over Wall Street
It's been just over a year since Ruth Porat became CFO of Alphabet, Google's corporate umbrella. During her tenure, Porat has managed to win over Wall Street, and the company's share price is up more than 30%.


Ellen is everywhere
Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has launched the Ellen Digital Network, building on her presence on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, not to mention her digital footprint on and her official YouTube channel. Brand extension at its fullest.


New poll shows 46% of voters for Clinton, 35% for Trump

Judge rules U.S. women's soccer team can't go on strike

Test yourself: Do you know the women (and men) Fortune 500 CEOs?

Second City, the improv club that launched Tina Fey, expands into diversity training

How Silicon Valley investor Tina Sharkey helps entrepreneurs


She didn't shrink from the pressure; she embraced it.
—Martina Navratilova, on the performance of tennis player Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Serena Williams at the French Open