The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 21

July 21, 2016, 6:57 AM UTC

A historic meeting took place yesterday. British Prime Minister Theresa May, in her first trip abroad since moving into 10 Downing Street, traveled to Berlin to sit down with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The confab was noteworthy because it underscored that this is the first time the two nations have had women as leaders at the same time.

Inevitably, the meeting of the minds, at which May said official Brexit talks will not start this year, led to stories about the similarities between the two. Interestingly, both women are daughters of ministers of the church, a fact that led the Guardian to point out that other women who have held high positions–such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—share the same background. The paper also said May and Merkel are effective leaders, implying that that would help them get along. Fair enough.

But this is what I find funny. The BBC reports that German headlines have called May “The British Merkel.” Yet when Merkel was poised to become chancellor back in 2005, she was compared to Margaret Thatcher—and was even referred to as “Deutschland’s Iron Lady.” As far as I can tell, no one calls her that anymore.

Perhaps at some point, to borrow a sentiment from Serena Williams, we will refer to “female world leaders” as just “world leaders.”

Laura Cohn



May's wit
Speaking of May, her sharp wit was on display yesterday. Before heading to Berlin, she made her first Prime Minister's Questions appearance, and drew loud responses with lines such as: "In my years here in this house, I've long heard the Labour party asking what the Conservative party does for women. Well, it just keeps making us prime minister."
Washington Post


Shedding light on the Middle East
Two women in the film business are trying to tell the story of what life is really like in the Middle East: Najat Rizk, CEO of production company Firehorse Films and director Mouna Mounayer, Rizk's co-founder. The work is not without its challenges. Rizk says when she was in Iraq making a film about the Sumers, men refused to speak to her.
Fast Company


Vestager hits trucks
Margrethe Vestager has had a busy couple of days. The EU competition commissioner just laid a record fine of $3.2 billion on truck makers for violating competition rules after filing a third round of antitrust charges against Google late last week.
New York Times



A shifting attitude toward sexual harassment
The reaction to women who have come forward and accused Roger Ailes of Fox News of sexual harassment marks a shift in the way the issue is perceived, Fortune's Pamela Kruger writes. Unlike the public trashing that other women have gotten in the past (think Anita Hill), former anchor Gretchen Carlson's claims that Ailes ogled her and made her leave when she rebuffed him were taken seriously, listened to, and investigated. Ailes denied the allegations but is expected to leave.


Melania Trump's speechwriter offered to leave
Meredith McIver, the speechwriter who borrowed lines from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech for Melania Trump's RNC remarks, offered her resignation to the campaign but was turned down. In a statement, she said: "Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences." McIver, whose speech set off a major controversy (to put it mildly), said the potential first lady told her she admired Obama's remarks, which McIver said were left in the final version of Melania Trump's remarks by accident.
New York Times


Ivanka speaks
In an interview with People magazine, Ivanka Trump talks about life as a working mother, "celebrating the multidimensionality" of today's women on her website,, and her unofficial role in her father's campaign. "I share my viewpoints with him privately, not publicly," says Trump, who met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence before he was chosen as the vice presidential pick. Trump is speaking tonight at the RNC, and is expected to court female voters.


Deporting trolls
Hate-spewers on Twitter have been shown the exit. In response to actress and comedian Leslie Jones, who left Twitter herself after being the target of racist trolls, Twitter removed users for harassing her. The company has been criticized for having limited oversight in the past.


Bye, bye sex
The first female minister of tourism in Thailand wants to improve her country's image by eliminating its sex industry. In an effort to have Thailand be known only for "quality tourism," Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she wants the sex industry "gone."


Just 10 women spoke during the RNC roll call to nominate Donald Trump

What you need to know about Tiffany Trump

Meet Maysoon Zayid, the female comic trying to lighten things up at the RNC

How Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg has been open about her grief
Wall Street Journal

Female-led financing improves the success rate of startups led by women
Harvard Business Review

Avatar star Zoe Saldana to produce documentary on missing indigenous women of Canada

Saudi Olympic Committee chooses four female athletes for Rio
Huffington Post


Our industry is jam-packed with brilliant creative women, but if all you do is ask your closed loop of white guys for recommendations, you get white-guy recommendations.
—ad executive Cindy Gallop