Skip to Content

The World’s Most Powerful Women: August 8

With the Rio Olympics underway, the Wall Street Journal has taken an in-depth look at the disparity between male and female competitions at the highest level.

The paper notes that the cycling race for men is roughly 62 miles longer than the women’s, but quotes scientists saying physiologically, women don’t need shorter courses—or tennis matches with fewer sets. In fact, Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic tells the WSJ the idea that female athletes have less endurance than men is “totally anachronistic.”

Fair enough. But when it comes to women in sport, what’s more important is the fight over equal pay. The U.S. women’s soccer team is at the forefront of this battle, having recently launched a public campaign on social media urging “Equal Play Equal Pay,” after five of the Olympic and World Cup champion players filed a federal complaint against U.S. Soccer in March.

As the Washington Post notes, female players make $8,216 less than male players when they win an exhibition game. And while the National Women’s Soccer League does not command the ticket sale revenue that Major League Soccer does, the women beat the men when it comes to international revenues. Last year, they surpassed the men by $2 million. This year, the difference is expected to swell to $8.5 million, the Post says.

So while it may make no sense that, as the WSJ notes, female swimmer Katie Ledecky cannot compete in the 1,500-meter swim (where she holds a world record) since only men compete at that distance in Rio, this is one area where what happens in the competition is really the side show. Gender equity is more about what happens in the backroom than on the pitch.

@laurascohn

Be sure to check out Fortune‘s new weekly show, Broad Strokes, featuring Kristen Bellstrom, of our sister publication, the Broadsheet, as well as Valentina Zarya. The latest episode discusses sexual harassment, the resignation of Saatchi & Saatchi’s chairman, and Apple’s diversity report.

Also, tune into Fortune’s new podcast, Fortune Unfiltered with Aaron Task, which has GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving today.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Funds need females
Fund management firms have revealed that while roughly half of their workforces are women, the upper ranks are only about one-quarter female. World leader BlackRock, which released its gender breakdown for the first time, acknowledged that the industry needs to do more to attract women. The news follows last week’s diversity report from Apple, which showed small improvements in gender and racial representation, as Fortune reported.
Financial Times

.



Pushing boards
Coming off the resignation of Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts, who left the company last week after taking heat for saying the debate on gender equality in advertising was “over,” Sarah Gordon of the Financial Times argues that it’s up to governments to get more women onto corporate boards.
Financial Times

THE AMERICAS



A political vet
Who is Anne Holton, whose husband, Tim Kaine, is Hillary Clinton’s VP pick? The New York Times paints a profile of Holton as a governor’s daughter with an “aversion to idleness” who also just happens to be a family court judge and the former secretary of education of the state of Virginia.
New York Times

.



A new role for Ivanka?
Asked which women he would put in his cabinet, Donald Trump only mentioned Ivanka, his daughter. In an interview last week, Trump said: “Well, we have so many different ones to choose. I can tell you everybody would say, ‘Put Ivanka in, put Ivanka in,’ you know that right? She’s very popular, she’s done very well, and you know Ivanka very well.”
Fortune

.



Turning away from ads
Jessica Lessin, founder of tech news site The Information, says her company, which has an audience in the single-digit thousands, has proven there is a profitable business to be built on a smaller scale. Lessin, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, says the key is that unlike the big media players, who are tied to advertising, her company relies on its $399 annual subscription fees.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC


Courageous Koike
In a follow-up story to last week’s news that Yuriko Koike became Tokyo’s first female governor, the Financial Times quotes former Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi on Koike’s campaign.”The saying used to be ‘a man is courage and a woman is charm,'” said Koizumi. “These days, women have courage, too.” Perhaps it’s a sign that the governor will be able to change the environment for working women in Japan.
Financial Times

.



Aussie sisters get gold
A relay team that includes sister swimmers from Down Under has triumphed in Rio. The Australian women’s 4 by 100 meter relay team, made up of Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie and two sisters—Cate and Bronte Campbell—surpassed the U.S. team to claim Olympic gold. The American squad, which included the widely-heralded swimmer Katie Ledecky, took the silver.
Sydney Morning Herald

IN BRIEF


What Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos should have done last week
Fortune


Black Lives Matter leader Alicia Garza says “all lives matter”
Bloomberg


Why feminist Susan Estrich is representing Roger Ailes
Washington Post


U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky breaks world record, gets gold
Fortune


Author and former Bear Stearns exec Maureen Sherry on what it’s like to be a woman on Wall Street
Fortune


Angelina Jolie to teach course on women at Georgetown
Glamour

 

PARTING WORDS

This is just one of the most epic matches in my life.
—Belgian tennis player Kirsten Flipkens, who defeated Venus Williams in the first-round singles tournament at the Rio Olympics