Skip to Content

The World’s Most Powerful Women: September 29

A personal essay published this week by Refinery 29the site that recently pledged to feature more plus-size women—draws attention to a type of workplace discrimination that is hardly ever talked about: the bias against heavier women.

The stats on the topic are pretty staggering: a study found that 60% of overweight women report being discriminated against. Obese individuals receive worse ratings as subordinates, coworkers, and bosses. They are viewed as less emotionally stable and less extroverted than their “normal weight” peers. And over a 25-year career, an average-weight woman earns nearly $400,000 less than a woman who is 25 pounds below the average weight. The detrimental effect of a woman’s weight on her paycheck is amplified as she gets heavier.

Alongside those figures, consider that 67% of American women are plus-size, which means discrimination based on body size is costing women dearly. The essay’s author described how she stood up to one fat-shamer in the workplace, but she also delivered a larger message about the often-overlooked bias: “We have to talk about it. We have the ability to pull prejudice into the light and force it to face scrutiny. The shame is not ours to carry.”

@clairezillman

NOTE: WMPW is switching to a new email provider soon. To ensure delivery of this newsletter, please whitelist or add fortune@email.fortune.com to your address book.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Blunt talkActress Emily Blunt, who stars in the upcoming film Girl on the Train, says her character, an alcoholic, offers an overdue rebuke on the long-held double standard that determines how people talk about women. “A woman is a drunk, a whore, whereas the guy’s like a partyer, a player,” she says. “I’ve been around both women who drink too much and guys who drink too much and it’s just as ugly on the guys.”Hollywood Reporter

.


Sec gen switcheroo
Bulgaria has a new candidate for UN secretary-general. It’s withdrawing its nomination of Irina Bokova, who finished a disappointing sixth in the last straw poll, and putting forward Kristalina Georgieva, a former World Bank official who’s now vice-president of the European Commission. Bulgarian PM Boiko Borisov has said the nomination of Georgieva increases his country’s chances of taking over the UN’s top post, and it renews hope that the body could get its first woman SG.
Wall Street Journal
.


Call me Marine
In a bid to woo voters and discard her extremist roots, Marine Le Pen has removed any mention of her last name and party affiliation from her marketing materials ahead of the French presidential election.
Bloomberg

 

THE AMERICAS

Misplaced priorities
This story in The New York Times offers another harsh critique of Marissa Mayer’s leadership at Yahoo following the disclosure of its massive data breach. It says security was a problem Mayer inherited when she became CEO, but she chose to revamp the look of services like Yahoo Mail over bolstering its defenses against hackers, according to Yahoo employees.
New York Times
.

Creating a collection
Museum specialist Mary Elliott talked to Slate about what went into preparing a major installation for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which held its grand opening last weekend.
Slate
.

Not helping anyone
Employers often try to support pregnant employees formally through organizational policies and informally via coworkers, but a new longitudinal study of 120 working pregnant women found that the help actually didn’t achieve its objective. Instead, the more help women received at work while pregnant, the more they wanted to quit their jobs nine months after giving birth. This story gives some reasons why.
Harvard Business Review

ASIA-PACIFIC

Progress in India
Indian companies have made progress in diversifying their boards of directors, according to a new report. The share of board seats belonging to women at corporations in the country has more than doubled from 5.5% in 2010 to 11.2% in 2015, inching India closer to the global average of 14.7%.
Business Standard

IN BRIEF

Melinda Gates has a new mission: Women in tech
Backchannel

Spend a day in the life of Sallie Krawcheck
Wall Street Journal

“Corporate feminism” oppresses women. Here’s how
Guardian

How “America’s Next Top Model” made Tyra Banks a better businesswoman
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

“It sounds crazy, but if it wasn’t for Mari and doing that special when I was pregnant with her I could see how very easily I would have slowed down, and stopped.”
--Comedian Ali Wong on filming her Netflix special while pregnant.