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The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 18

As a writer, I like the expression “the power of the pen,” but Sheryl Sandberg made a good point recently about the power of images and the impact they have on young women.

In a post on her Facebook page, Sandberg noted that a photo of a young girl looking up at the actress Kristen Wiig at the Ghostbusters movie premiere proved that role models can be a powerful force. “When our films depict strong women in leading roles, we show girls they can become anything they want to be—including a Ghostbuster,” the Facebook exec and Lean In founder wrote. Her point was well taken, and combatted some of the sexist remarks made online about the trailer for the movie, which stars four female leads.

The photo from the premiere wasn’t the only empowering image for women that’s emerged worldwide in recent days. There was Theresa May walking into No. 10 Downing Street as she became Britain’s second female prime minister, not to mention the new powerful Nike ad featuring female Indian athletes running, jumping, and playing cricket.

Studies show that when women look at other female role models, they become better leaders themselves because it gives them confidence. Just imagine how young women will feel if they see a woman become U.S. president or UN secretary general this fall. Or both. It’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Laura Cohn

@laurascohn

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Nicola’s “indy-ref”
Europe may not be done with its referendums. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would weigh whether to hold another independence referendum for Scotland next year, should her party not approve of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to Brexit.
Guardian

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Angela under attack
Angela Eagle, who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the Labour Party in Britain, says she has received “homophobic” and “misogynist abuse” on social media since she announced her move. In an interview with The Times, Eagle, who is openly gay, says, “The most homophobic stuff that I have been subjected to is happening now.”
The Times

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Looking at the guys
Female politicians nearly always have their clothes and their hairstyles written about. But with stories popping up about British Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband’s fashion choices and French President Francois Hollande’s haircuts, the shoe is on the other foot. For once.
Fortune

THE AMERICAS



The eye of the beholder
Speaking of looks, this candid piece in Elle provides a valuable lesson about how our background and cultural sensitivities determine how we see an image. The story—about how different editors viewed the magazine’s latest unreleased cover—is telling. Take a look. What do you see?
Elle

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Towel charms at the White House?
Karen Pence, First Lady of Indiana and the potential Second Lady of the United States, is the founder of “That’s my Towel!” Charm, a firm that makes metal charms you to attach to your towels to tell which one is yours. On the company’s website, Pence says the products are “environmentally friendly” and eliminate the question of, “who took my towel?” Pence’s husband, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has been chosen as Donald Trump’s veep pick.
Fortune

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Boys being boys
This takes the term “boys’ club” a little too far for my taste. Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio is hosting a fundraiser this week at the men-only Sharon Golf Club, Politico reports. The price? It’s $3,000 for PACs and $1,500 for (male) individuals.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC



Death of a social media star
The weekend funeral of Pakistan’s leading social media star, named Fauzia Azeem but known as Qandeel Baloch, serves as a reminder of the perils faced by women in the country. Azeem, known for posting photos of herself on social media in the largely Muslim country, was killed by her brother, Muhammad Waseem, in a so-called “honor killing.” The act by Waseem, who told journalists he had “no regrets,” was condemned by female rights activists.
Fortune

IN BRIEF


Donald Trump tells “60 Minutes” Hillary Clinton can’t make mistakes, but his VP pick can
Time


Poll finds Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump
Wall Street Journal


New podcast shines a spotlight on women and people of color
Fortune


Dynamite Entertainment to publish new comic books on Wonder Woman, the Bionic Woman and Nancy Drew
New York Times


NYC law gives free tampons to women in public schools and prisons
Huffington Post


Researchers say a supportive partner will help your career
Financial Times


Female startup founders on the rise in Qatar
Gulf Times

 

 

PARTING WORDS

You don’t think I am settled? You sound disappointed that I am actually not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world at this point in time.
—Sania Mirza, India's most successful female tennis player, responding to a TV anchor's question about when she is going to settle down and have a family