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The World’s Most Powerful Women: June 14

All senior female executives face criticism. But imagine if that criticism was so public that it frequently made the front pages of national newspapers.

The Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit in London kicked off last night, and among the first to speak was Rona Fairhead, the first woman to serve as chair of the BBC Trust. Dealing with life in the public eye has had its challenges, she said.

She’s had to deal with significant public scrutiny. TV viewers in the U.K. pay an annual licensing fee of 145.50 pounds (roughly $207) to fund the BBC, so nearly everyone in Britain feels they have a right to weigh in on the broadcaster. On top of that, she has had to deal with the government’s recent restructuring of the BBC’s governing body.

Managing any large organization is difficult, but doing so in public could break a less committed executive. When she took the job, Fairhead said she understood what she was getting into, a useful lesson for any woman in business. “You have to go into it with eyes wide open,” Fairhead said. “You have to go into it feeling that you have to be resilient.”

Despite the setbacks, the public controversies and the challenges, Fairhead remains unbowed, arguing that even in high-profile positions, women can find the right balance—or nearly. “You can’t have it all, but you can have a lot,” she said.

Check back tomorrow for a recap of Day 2!

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Denmark’s selfie queen
At the Fortune summit in London, Former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt recounted the time she took a selfie that went viral. The selfie, taken at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013, included U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, and prompted Obama to tell her later, “You got me into trouble.”
Fortune

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Googling an escape
Also attending the Fortune conference in London, Google exec Yonca Brunini revealed the most Googled word in Syria. Interestingly, it’s: Germany.
Fortune
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Driving in Saudi Arabia
Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Company, said she thinks women will get the right to drive in Saudi Arabia “very soon.” Speaking at the Fortune confab in London, Olayan noted that women are allowed to drive in the desert.
Fortune

 

ASIA-PACIFIC



Challenges in South Korea, Part II
Following the piece from The Economist I mentioned yesterday about the tough time South Korean women have with work-life balance, another story makes the point that the country should take a basic step to address the issue: pass its anti-discrimination bill. The bill, which has been stuck in the National Assembly for almost 10 years, would require companies to treat people equally.
New York Times

THE AMERICAS



Clinton’s call to action
In the wake of the Orlando shooting, Hillary Clinton called for gun control and the defeat of the Islamic State. “We cannot contain this threat. We must defeat it,” Clinton said.
Fortune

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The image of anger
An interesting piece by Purdue University associate professor Roxane Gay makes the argument that while anger is a “normal and even healthy” emotion, there is a double standard for the sexes. Hillary Clinton is not allowed to appear angry. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is.
New York Times

IN BRIEF


Sallie Krawcheck reveals the biggest question she asks herself as a working mom
Fortune


Town in southeastern Germany bans the burqini
South China Morning Post


Why women should celebrate their bodies to champion equal rights
Guardian

 

PARTING WORDS

People are best served by organizations that look and sound like them.
—Nicola Ann Morgan, the U.K. secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities