The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 8

July 8, 2016, 7:20 AM UTC

It’s official: Britain’s next prime minister will be a woman. The second round of voting by MPs put two top female politicians into the finals: Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.

The race marks the first time two women have vied for leader, and comes 26 years after the ouster of Margaret Thatcher, famously known as Britain’s Iron Lady. This is becoming something of a trend in British politics. Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s first minister and Northern Ireland is led by Arlene Foster.

May, the frontrunner, received 199 of the 329 votes; Leadsom got 84. (Michael Gove, the justice secretary, was eliminated because he secured just 46 votes.) The decision now goes to the roughly 150,000 Conservative party members and a final result is expected September 9.

Although they are both women, they have taken very different paths to the top. May spent six years at the Home Office, and has long been expected to rise to party leader. While she campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU, she has since said, “Brexit means Brexit.” May, who the Financial Times calls a “pragmatic reformer,” is seen as a steady hand–someone who can unify the country after the financial, economic, and existential chaos of the Brexit vote.

Leadsom, who has not held a cabinet position but has the endorsement of former London Mayor Boris Johnson, is a former banker who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. She has only been an MP for six years.

It’s not just their career paths that are different. In an age when the personal frequently becomes the political, attention has focused on the strikingly different family lives of the two women. May is viewed as a loner who, like Germany’s Angela Merkel, has no children; Leadsom is seen as more traditional, with three kids and advocating a return to fox hunting. The nationwide campaign is only a day old, but a double standard is already emerging. I’m not sure anyone would ask a male candidate about not having children.

Laura Cohn



Candid Christine
Christine Lagarde isn't one to mince words. The head of the International Monetary Fund told the Financial Times in an interview that the protectionist policies currently being promoted by U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump would be "disastrous" for global growth.
Financial Times


Cosmo's brand steward
Succeeding Helen Gurley Brown, the well-known editor of Cosmopolitan for 32 years, would seem to be a daunting task. But if you're Joanna Coles, who assumed the role four years ago, you take on the job by becoming a self-described "brand steward"--working on an E! reality show, becoming active on Twitter and Instagram, and writing a book about sex for HarperCollins.
New York Times


Holmes under fire
There's more bad news for embattled Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes today. The Wall Street Journal reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has banned Holmes from operating a blood-testing lab for at least two years.
Wall Street Journal


Hillary plays offense
Hillary Clinton wants to use Donald Trump's business history to cast him in a bad light. In a rally outside the closed Trump Plaza hotel and casino in Atlantic City, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee cited Trump's many bankruptcies and lawsuits as proof that he is not fit to be president.


QVC for Millennials
Anyone who uses humor to sell everyday products tends to grab my attention. Entrepreneur Rachel Tipograph, who founded the startup MikMak, is creating 30-second commercials hosted by improv comedians on its iPhone app in what she says is an attempt to "modernize the infomercial for the 20-something girl."
Wall Street Journal


Beyonce speaks out
Earlier this year, Beyonce released a video for the song "Formation" that contained commentary on police brutality. Now she's gone a step further, reacting on her website to the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota this week by telling fans to "contact the politicians." She also writes: "The war on people of color and all minorities needs to be over."


Training in tidying-up
Marie Kondo has a new venture. Kondo, whose well-known book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, inspired me the second I read the title, has launched a training program for KonMari, her Japanese organizing method.
New York Times


Trolls in India
Sadly, cyber stalking, which has plagued everyone from female MPs in the U.K. to Monica Lewinsky, has affected women in India, too. The worst part: while incidents of online harassment have gone up, justice is rarely served.
Live Mint


Hillary Clinton's email case to live on in civil suits

Sheryl Sandberg, Carla Harris among the business leaders most admired by MBAs
Poets & Quants

GoPro gets its first female board member

"Selma" director Ava DuVernay moves to TV with new series on Oprah Winfrey's network

Dilma Rousseff calls her suspension as president of Brazil a "political farce"

China releases female legal assistant it detained last year
South China Morning Post

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen endorses Trump


When a prize is given for a lifetime's achievement, age is going to play a part and I may have an unfair advantage. Inevitably the judges must say: 'She's 93, she might not be around to give it to next year,' which is acutely unfair to young illustrators and authors in their 80s.
—Judith Kerr, a children's author who fled Nazi Germany at age 9 and received a lifetime achievement award from the non-profit BookTrust this week