The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 11

July 11, 2016, 6:37 AM UTC

The Mommy Wars have come to Downing Street. Over the weekend, Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister running to replace David Cameron, appeared to suggest she was more qualified to become prime minister than her female opponent because she has children.

In an interview with The Times, Leadsom, a mother of three, said, “Genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country.” She also said her opponent, Home Secretary Theresa May, “possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people,” adding, “but I have children who are going to have children who will be directly party of what happens next.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support each other. I wonder where Albright would put women who try to politicize the reproductive challenges of their female colleagues. May has said publicly that she and her husband could not have children.

After the interview appeared, Leadsom said she was “disgusted” at the presentation of her comments because she did not want family to be a “feature of the campaign.” But the storm of criticism only grew after the Times responded to a demand to release the interview transcript and the audio recording, in which Leadsom clearly puts a long emphasis on the word “children.” Leadsom later apologized to May.

Tory MP Guto Bebb (a May supporter) told the Financial Times the remarks were “utterly vile.” And the Telegraph reported Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who’s openly gay, sounded a sympathetic note with May, saying, “I am childless. I have nieces and nephews. I believe I–like everybody else–have a very real stake in our country.”

As far as I can tell, May has yet to comment. I’m not sure she has to. Women of May’s generation fought hard enough to be accepted as political leaders by their male peers. Friendly fire from another woman on an issue so clearly outside the realm of politics feels close to betrayal. If there’s a silver lining, it’s how universal the condemnation of Leadsom has been.

Laura Cohn



Labour's leading lady
As two women battle it out for a seat at No. 10 Downing Street, another top female British politician is vying to become leader of the Labour Party. Angela Eagle announced she will challenge current Labour head Jeremy Corbyn, saying he has not been able to "communicate with the electorate."


A female first at Dior
While it's been rumored for more than two weeks, the appointment of designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as the first female artistic director of Dior marks a milestone. The New York Times scored an interview with Dior Chief Exec Sidney Toledano, who says he wanted to hire Chiuri because she is "practical" and "has no fear."
New York Times


Rebekah returns
Rebekah Brooks, the protege of Rupert Murdoch, is back in deal-making mode, having inked News Corp's 220-million pound acquisition of Wireless Group. But two years after being acquitted in the phone hacking scandal, Brooks is shying away from the corporate social scene.
Financial Times


Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Trump
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said pondering a Donald Trump presidency makes her think about something her deceased husband would have said: "Now it's time for us to move to New Zealand." In an interview with the New York Times, the Supreme Court justice reflected on what a Trump victory would mean, saying: "For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be--I don't even want to contemplate that."
New York Times


Elizabeth Holmes's fall from grace
I would highly recommend reading this piece by Fortune's Dan Primack about the unprecedented rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of blood-testing company Theranos. The story chronicles how Holmes went from being a "bonafide business celebrity" to where she is today--banned from owning or operating a medical lab for at least two years.


Speaking out on YouTube
A bully pulpit can be useful. In the wake of last week's racially-motivated gun violence in the U.S., YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki urged well-known YouTube creators to use their power to "help us all figure out to to live together in respect."


Ivanka for veep?
Ivanka Trump's brother Eric said in an interview that she would make a great vice president because "she's got the beautiful looks." He also hailed her for being "smart, smart, smart," but that comment about her appearance made me shift in my chair.


Coming up empty in Japan
A lot of ink has been spilled on how hard it is to be a woman in politics in Japan. But this Japan Times piece gets to the heart of the matter, arguing that because the country's goal of getting women into 30% of top positions by 2020 is not enforceable--in contrast to the mandates of other nations--it is unlikely to happen.
Japan Times


Serena Williams wins 22nd Gram Slam singles title
New York Times

Beyonce writes tribute to Dallas policemen who were shot
Rolling Stone

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump diverge in response to Dallas shootings
New York Times

After anchor Gretchen Carlson came forward, more women accuse Roger Ailes of sexual harassment
New York Magazine

Childless women want to be marketed to, too
New York Times

Family of slain journalist Marie Colvin sues Syrian regime


My mum told me that there is no job for women between 45 and 60, because you are in-between. You are not young enough to play the young girl, but you are also not old enough to play the matriarch, the witch or the grandmother. So there is a period of 15 years where you're in limbo and they don't know how to hire you.
—actress Isabella Rossellini