Contributing Editor Laura Cohn is filling in for Claire Zillman today through Wednesday.
Some of the most powerful women in global politics are facing major leadership tests in the coming weeks.
Angela Merkel, whose party took a beating in Germany’s most recent regional elections, is pressing other EU countries to follow her lead and open their doors to immigrants in an attempt to alleviate Europe’s refugee crisis. At a press conference in Vienna over the weekend, Merkel bluntly summed up her position, saying, “In view of the many refugees who are already with us, other EU countries will have to jump in,” adding that Europe’s approach to asylum applicants is “too slow.”
For Hillary Clinton, the test is—of course—tonight’s debate against Donald Trump. Political pundits say the New York event, the first of three presidential debates, could be watched by 100 million viewers—an audience more typically reserved for the Super Bowl. If that weren’t pressure enough, a poll released yesterday by the Wall Street Journal revealed that the debates will be key to the decisions of 34% of voters. Clinton is ahead of Trump in the polls, but not by a wide margin.
We don’t know yet whether Merkel will win over Europe—and whether Clinton will win over voters. But here’s something to think about. In a piece in Politico, another female power broker, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, writes that while she expected male and female politicians to have equal opportunities by now, sadly, “that dream is still elusive.” If both Merkel and Clinton prevail in their respective battles, perhaps Gillard’s dream will have a better chance of becoming a reality.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of Fortune’s Broad Strokes, in which Fortune’s Kristen Bellstrom and Valentina Zarya talk about how Brangelina’s breakup is being covered and the latest gender initiatives at the UN.
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