Skip to Content

The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 14

In the days running up to Theresa May becoming Britain’s second female prime minister, her aides briefed the press that she would appoint an unprecedented number of women to top positions in her cabinet.

But of the six senior posts in British government announced in the hours after she took office last night, the only woman besides May is her successor at the Home Office.

To be sure, May appointed Amber Rudd, who has been energy secretary for over a year and backed Britain staying in the EU, to a position of great import and sensitivity–among other things, she will have to address the radioactive political issue of immigration. May herself was tough on the matter, but did not meet her party’s promises to cut net immigrant inflows to below 100,000 a year. According to The Guardian, Rudd’s promotion shows she has truly arrived after proving herself during the referendum debates.

Still, Rudd was notable for her singularity. All the other big jobs–including foreign minister, chancellor of the Exchequer, the newly-created “minister for Brexit”–went to familiar male Conservatives. And while Rudd represents gender diversity, she ticks very few other diversity boxes: she is a former banker from a prominent family.

More appointments are expected to come today, so the ranks of women in government could expand. Top Tory women, including Justine Greening, international development secretary, may be given cabinet roles. And perhaps May’s taking up residence in Downing Street is achievement enough. If Hillary Clinton becomes president, and Angela Merkel remains chancellor of Germany, nearly half of the G-7 will be led by women. That’s nearly gender parity.

Laura Cohn

@laurascohn

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Merkel’s moment
Speaking of Merkel, she is facing a critical test of her leadership in Europe. The German chancellor is going to have to deal with negotiating Brexit, the chance that other countries will leave the EU, plus the loss of an ally.
Financial Times

.



A note of inspiration for women
Women are trying to make inroads in Britain’s male-dominated music industry by hosting events—such as Girls Music Day and Bridging the Gap–to draw in more of their own. It’s easy to see why such confabs are sorely needed: last year, 86% of the performers at the country’s music festivals were men.
Guardian

.



Facebook friends
A Facebook forum is providing Egyptian women with a much-needed place to air their views about sexual harassment and the challenges they face in daily life. The two-year-old forum, called “Confessions of a Married Woman” and requiring an invitation, has more than 45,000 members.
Wall Street Journal

THE AMERICAS



Airbnb’s No. 2
Meet Belinda Johnson, the No. 2 exec at Airbnb who was CEO Brian Chesky’s first hire. Johnson, a lawyer, has been likened by Chesky to a secretary of state for her astute efforts to get to know regulators early on.
Back Channel

.



Warren’s consolation prize
It appears that Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who’s engaged in Twitterspats with Donald Trump, will not be Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick after all. Warren has been given a prime time slot to speak on the first night of the Democratic national convention. The veep candidate tends to speak on the third night of the convention.
Fortune

.



A board boost at Intel
At a time when the tech industry is being criticized for its underrepresentation of women, Intel has added a second woman to its board of directors. The chipmaker added electrical engineering professor Tsu-Jae King Liu, who joins former USTR Charlene Barshefsky on its board.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC



Threatened in Taiwan
Taiwan’s first female president was quick to respond to an international tribunal’s rejection of China’s claims to the South China Sea. Tsai Ing-wen, who took office in May and believes Taiwan has rights to the sea, sent a patrol ship to the area a day earlier than planned, saying the move was designed “to display Taiwan people’s resolve in defending the national interest.”
New York Times

IN BRIEF


Polls show close race between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump in Ohio and Iowa
Wall Street Journal


Watch Ronda Rousey promise to silence her critics in new ad
Fortune


Law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore names Faiza Saeed to top spot
New York Times


Jennifer Aniston writes about being “fed up” with body shaming of women
Fortune


Startups in South Africa have the same number of female and male founders
Tech Republic


Why it’s so hard for women to say “no” at work
Fortune


Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director of “Kung Fu Panda,” to direct new live-action film
The Hollywood Reporter

PARTING WORDS

I don’t know why people think that we act or argue differently. I would really like it if either your gender or indeed your sexuality didn’t have to be remarked upon at all.
—Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party