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The World’s Most Powerful Women: September 20

After being dealt a series of electoral blows due to her open-door refugee policy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, usually defiant, finally buckled a bit Monday in what the Financial Times described as “an extraordinary public expression of regret.”

The Berlin regional elections delivered her Christian Democrat party a historic defeat on Sunday and further cast her as out of touch with the continent’s rising populist and nationalist tides as she considers her political future. In the aftermath, she admitted to making mistakes in preparing for and responding to the refugee crisis that began unfolding in the summer of 2015.

She didn’t necessarily back down from her welcoming stance toward refugees, but she did say she’s failed to adequately communicate her refugee policy, acknowledging that her slogan meaning “We will manage” had provoked opponents of her political agenda. And she admitted that she and her government had not acted quickly enough to prepare for mass migration caused by conflict in the Middle East.

“If I could, I would rewind time by many, many years so that I could better prepare myself and the whole government and all those in positions of responsibility for the situation that caught us unprepared in the late summer of 2015,” she said.

Merkel’s refugee has policy won her acclaim—at least in some parts of the U.S. President Barack Obama once referred to it as “courageous,” while his national security advisor Susan Rice said Merkel demonstrated “particularly bold moral and practical leadership on the refugee crisis, welcoming vulnerable migrants despite the political costs.” Based on Sunday’s election results, it seems those costs finally got too high.



Much needed storytelling
Vogue‘s October cover girl Lupita Nyong’o talks to the magazine about her spectacular rise as an actress and style icon, and how she’s using that platform to “expand and diversify the African voice.”Vogue


Say no to softballs
French video blogger Laetitia Birbes claims YouTube tried to water down her interview with Jean-Claude Juncker last week by suggesting she ask the European Commission president questions about his vintage phone and his dog. She ended up quizzing him on substantive matters like Luxembourg’s controversial tax policies. YouTube parent Google denies she was pressured to lob Juncker softball questions.

A threatening tweet
Prior to her meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other key lawmakers, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager sent a tweet that seemed to indicate her intention to investigate other major U.S. companies in the same manner she probed Apple.
Irish Times


The making of an MPW
The latest episode of the Fortune Unfiltered podcast with digital editor Aaron Task features North America Group CEO Julie Sweet of Accenture (which sponsors this newsletter). Sweet is a new MPW honoree this year, and she talks about the journey that landed her on the list.
Fortune Unfiltered

Real-life redemption
This article argues that Sarah Paulson’s win for outstanding actress in a limited series at the Emmys serves as redemption for the real-life woman she played in The People v. O.J. Simpson. Marcia Clark’s hair, clothes, and child custody battle were probed to no end during the real-life trial. During her acceptance speech, Paulson, who brought Clark to the ceremony as her date, said she and the rest of the world had been “superficial and careless” in judging the litigator.
The Atlantic

Truth-telling economist
Meet Nela Richardson, the chief economist at online real estate brokerage and research firm Redfin. She’s intent on providing data not just on the affordability of houses but on the livability of homes and their surrounding communities.


Shooting in Syria
Photographer Nicole Tung talks to Refinery 29 about her series “Syria: The Long Night,” and her work in other conflict zones. “Images,” she says, can’t “instigate social change to the point of stopping a war…but photography can impact people to make small changes themselves.”
Refinery 29

Ousting in the opposition
Senator Leila De Lima had been one of the loudest voices opposing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She was overseeing the investigation into extrajudicial killings that are allegedly part of the administration’s war on drugs, but she was voted out of her position as head of the Senate’s justice committee on Monday. Her ouster came four days after she presented a witness who tied Duterte to a death squad during his tenure as mayor of Davao City.
Wall Street Journal


This Ivy League school has produced the most powerful businesswomen

Three U.K. fund houses are fighting the gender pay gap
Financial Times

How Amal Clooney changed the life of this 17-year-old girl in Lebanon

Martha Stewart says she’s voting for Hillary Clinton

Priyanka Chopra is proof that actors of color can make it to Hollywood’s “Promised Land”


“I was really curious. I am a people person, so it was a different step for me, but I went for it. I have loved my job ever since.”
Marilyn Rivera, one of the few doorwomen in New York City, on getting her job 24 years ago.