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The World’s Most Powerful Women: September 12

The current issue of Fortune celebrates the women executives who landed on our MPW lists this year. But another story in the magazine examines a more discouraging aspect of leading while female—the immense difficulty women execs face in finding a second or third act.

Fortune editor-at-large Jennifer Reingold lays out the sobering statistics: of the 126 women who fell off Fortune‘s MPW list between 2000 and 2015, just 13% managed to land another major role at a big public company.

One culprit behind those figures is the foreboding “glass cliff”—a phenomenon in which female leaders are more likely to be offered the CEO slot at companies that are struggling or in crisis. There’s research to back up the theory: 42% of the 50 women CEOs in the Fortune 500 through 2014 were appointed during tough times, versus 22% of a similar sample of men.

That trend plays into a paradox for women. They volunteer for the hardest jobs because they feel pressure to prove themselves, but—in entering those challenging circumstances— they are, perhaps, decreasing their chances of reaching steadier CEO jobs in the future. If they fail to turn the company around, Reingold writes, it can confirm the bias that they really don’t have what it takes. And that determination can, in turn, keep all-star women at the peak of their careers from landing another high-profile C-suite role—let alone a CEO gig.

What the story highlights is not just a problem for gender equality and diversity in business, it’s a problem for business itself, since tremendous talent is leaking out of the corporate system. Jim Citrin of executive search and consulting firm Spencer Stuart put it simply: “It is a huge waste.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Ruling out the women
The latest round of voting in the UN’s ongoing secretary-general election all but eliminated the five female candidates who are vying to be the first-ever woman SG. Former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres maintained his lead. Irina Bokova of Bulgaria fared the best among the female hopefuls, finishing fifth.
Associated Press

THE AMERICAS

Hillary’s health scare
Hillary Clinton is being treated for pneumonia according to a statement her campaign released Sunday after the Democratic presidential nominee left a 9/11 memorial event early. Her staff made the disclosure only after a video appeared to show Clinton collapsing. Critics and Donald Trump supporters had questioned Clinton’s health in recent weeks with, until now, little substantial evidence. 
New York TImes
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Meg’s next move?
Meg Whitman, a lifelong Republican, is supporting Hillary Clinton this election cycle. That’s fueling speculation that the Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO could wind up in Clinton’s cabinet.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC


 
Unlikely stardom
This story examines the wild popularity of tennis star Sania Mirza, who—with 12 million Facebook fans, 4 million followers on Twitter, and another 2 million on Instagram—is changing how India sees its female athletes.
New Yorker
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Quite the piggybank
The spending habits of the Malaysian first lady are feeding allegations that the prime minister received hundreds of millions of dollars siphoned from a state investment fund he set up. Rosmah Mansor—who supposedly lives off her husband’s $100,000 annual salary—has defended her lavish lifestyle by saying she’s a good saver. Meanwhile, documents show she’s racked up $6 million in credit card charges in recent years.
Wall Street Journal
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A mouthpiece for Pyongyang
When North Korea conducts its nuclear tests, it turns to its veteran newscaster Ri Chun-Hee, who’s believe to be about 70, to deliver the news. She appeared on TV again on Friday to announce that the country was capable of producing a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on strategic ballistic missiles.
Hindustan Times

IN BRIEF

This woman is helping first-generation Latino students get into college
Money

Actress Lauren Graham explains how Gilmore Girls is ‘sneakily feminist’
Time

Why we should stop “protecting” women from challenging work
Harvard Business Review

Meet Donald Trump’s Female Empowerment Tour
Politico

PARTING WORDS

I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems, and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women.
—Tim Gunn on how designers refuse to make clothes that fit American women.