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The World’s Most Powerful Women: June 27

In the wake of last week’s shocking Brexit vote, which roiled global financial markets, drew calls for a second vote on EU membership, and threw the British political system into disarray, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wasted no time over the weekend preparing for another independence referendum.

After Scotland voted 62% to 38% for Britain to stay in the EU, Sturgeon’s cabinet held an emergency session on Saturday and decided to push for legislation on a second vote to leave the U.K. soon. The last referendum on the matter, in 2014, failed because only 45% of voters backed the measure; 55% were opposed.

This time, Sturgeon said she is setting up an advisory panel to talk about the legal, financial, and diplomatic matters surrounding the issue. She also is starting to talk to officials in Brussels to “protect Scotland’s place in the EU” and suggested members of the Scottish Parliament may try to block Brexit by not giving their “legislative consent.” By weighing another referendum, leaders are demonstrating they think it would be to Scotland’s financial advantage to be in the EU.

With a new poll showing 52% of Scots now support independence—and 48% are opposed—perhaps she will have better luck the second time around.


The cautious chancellor
Angela Merkel, who backed Britain staying in the EU, urged caution in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The German chancellor said the EU did not need to be  “particularly nasty” in the separation talks with the country, adding—in contrast to the opinions of some EU foreign ministers—that it did not have to happen all that quickly.


Ladies of London
With David Cameron stepping down as prime minister, the race is on to see who will become the next leader of the Tory party. Aside from front-runner Boris Johnson, London’s former mayor, there are two women in the running: Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, and Home Secretary Theresa May.
Financial Times


Rising in France
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was declared by Fortune‘s Claire Zillman to be one of the winners in the Brexit vote, since she has pledged to hold a “Frexit” referendum if she ever becomes president. French President Francois Hollande seems to agree, given that he met with her at the Elysee Palace over the weekend.
Financial Times


Hillary’s shifting fortunes
Good news for Hillary Clinton emerged over the weekend. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 51% of registered voters back Clinton, versus just 39% for Trump—a big shift from a month ago, when they were nearly tied. A separate Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also showed Clinton ahead by just 5 percentage points.
Washington Post


Trump’s gatekeeper
Following the recent GQ profile of Donald Trump’s press secretary Hope Hicks, the New York Times takes a crack at understanding the person it calls “The Woman Who ‘Totally Understands’ Donald Trump.” This story contains an interesting insight from Hicks’s mother, who says her daughter’s position came “as a shocker.”
New York Times


Where Mad Men aren’t
With all the talk about the lack of diversity in the ad biz, digital agency 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter explains how her firm became 60% female. When I saw the headline, I thought it must have been quotas that did it, but it wasn’t. Instead, she says, “it just happened.”
Wall Street Journal


Woman on a mission
Mission-driven startups just got a boost. Girls’ education activist Shiza Shahid is partnering with AngelList to back such businesses. Shahid is known for co-founding the Malala Fund with Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize winner, and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.
Tech Crunch


Sexism at India’s startups
India’s startup culture is sexist. That’s the conclusion of this piece, which includes anecdotal evidence of sexism in the workplace, as well as statistics showing the country hosts a limited number of female founders. It’s an interesting read.
Live Mint


What Brexit means for Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen

Possible Clinton-Warren Ticket highlights bias against female power duos

Christine Lagarde says IMF “stands ready” to deal with Brexit’s impact

Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep visit Africa to promote girls’ education


I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more.
—J.K. Rowling, on her disappointment with the outcome of the Brexit vote