The World’s Most Powerful Women: October 12

October 12, 2016, 6:37 AM UTC

There’s a lot of corporate lip service in the on-going discussion about addressing gender inequality in the workplace, but yesterday several financial firms added something rare to the conversation—cold, hard numbers.

The U.K. Treasury announced that of the 72 firms that have signed on to its charter to add more women to the finance sector, 60 have pledged to put women in at least 30% of their senior roles by 2021. Included in that figure are 13 organizations that are taking the vow even further, setting a goal of gender parity within five years.

The U.K. has honed in on the gender imbalance in finance in part because the industry has the nation’s worst gender pay gap: 40%—significantly wider than the 19% average. That disparity could be due to the dearth of women in the upper echelon of the profession; they make up about 23% of the sector’s corporate boards and 14% of its executive committees.

Self-imposed quotas—like state-mandated ones in places like Norway and France—are always a controversial approach to increasing gender diversity because they could lead to the hiring of token or under-qualified female candidates and don’t necessarily fix the processes that have led to such lopsidedness. Yet in these cases I’m always reminded of the adage that Brenda Trenowden, global chair of the 30% Club, once shared with me: “What gets measured gets managed.”



Impact investingMichele Giddens, co-founder of Bridges Ventures, Britain’s largest impact investment manager, is tackling the obesity crisis, regenerating the U.K.’s most impoverished areas, and trying to end youth unemployment, all while making double-digit returns. And she's emboldened by PM Theresa May's recent pledge to make the economy work for all. "The government cannot be expected to find all of the solutions on its own and neither can the non-profit sector," Giddens says.Financial Times


Backing out
Italy's Olympic Committee made a last-minute decision yesterday to withdraw Rome's candidacy for the 2024 Games after Mayor Virginia Raggi said she wouldn't support the bid because it would bury the city in debt and under tons of cement. PM Matteo Renzi's government had backed the effort.

Lots to celebrate
Time looks back at the legacy of Clare Hollingworth—who "scooped the world" and reported on the start of World War II—on the occasion of the British journalist's 105th birthday.



In an attempt to defend Donald Trump's lewd remarks about women in the now-infamous 2005 tape, one of his surrogates said his comments were not nearly as bawdy as the lyrics of Beyoncé, whom Hillary Clinton has referenced in the past. That accusation prompted the singer's devoted Beyhive to spring into Internet action.

"I see myself."
On National Coming Out Day in the U.S., Backchannel's Jessi Hempel talked with accomplished angel investor Cyan Banister about being genderqueer.

Coming up short
The non-profit Save the Children measured 144 nations by five factors—child marriage, adolescent fertility, maternal mortality, female representation in parliament, and girls' secondary school completion rates—to compile an opportunity index for young women. The United States ranked 32rd, behind Kazakhstan and Algeria. 


A health scare
The Indian state of Tamil Nadu has been in constant vigil since the hospitalization of its chief minister Jayaram Jayalalitha, one of India's most powerful female politicians who has a cult-like following. Yesterday, police there arrested two people for “inciting violence and spreading rumors" amid the uncertainty of her status. Law enforcement fears hearsay about her health could provoke her supporters to turn violent or even engage in self-harm. One already set himself on fire last week.

Bollywood gets political
Malaika Arora is one of the Bollywood stars headlining a concert on Saturday that will feature a speech by Donald Trump. The event is a project of the Republican Hindu Coalition, which wants to persuade Indian Americans—a heavily Democratic-leaning group—toward the Republican Party.


Sheryl Sandberg says she's not leaving Facebook for a government job

Wonder Woman is becoming an official UN ambassador

Only 1 in 6 teen girls in Australia feels valued for their mind and abilities, report says

Media watchdog says the BBC fails to put enough older women on screen

How 27-year-old Charlotte Simon built a multi-million dollar scarf brand
Business of Fashion

Actress Emma Watson condemns child marriage in Malawi

The U.S. passed a law to make baby changing stations available in men’s bathrooms


"AND YES I know I have lipstick on my teeth. [I]t was a looonnnnggg day."
--Makeup artist James Charles in an Instagram post announcing his role as CoverGirl's first-ever CoverBoy.