The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 1

December 1, 2016, 8:27 AM UTC

One of the many lingering questions about the outcome of the U.S. election is why so many white women voted for Donald Trump, considering his track record of misogynist remarks.

Stanford University sociologist Marianne Cooper took a stab at answering that unknown yesterday at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, and I found her explanation especially intriguing. She blames, in part, the lack of “gender-political consciousness” among white, married women.

As members of just one protected class, white women have a harder time seeing their personal inequality and recognizing its illegitimacy. Meanwhile, black, Latina, and LGBT women have “enhanced” gender-political awareness because they’re more accustomed to other forms of discrimination such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia.

As a result, white women tend to assume an upbeat “girls-can-do-anything” attitude instead of talking about the realities of sexism. That makes it harder for them to identify misogyny when they encounter it. “In order to see something as unjust,” Cooper says, “you have to be able to name it first.”



Multitasking x 3Sarah Cook, global marketing director at Oxford University Press, writes about what it was like to complete her executive MBA at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School while working full-time and being pregnant with—and giving birth to—triplets.Financial Times


Driving the economy
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in Saudi Arabia, has called on the kingdom to end its ban on women drivers, saying it’s hurting the country’s economy. The ban is an infringement on a woman’s rights, he said, “particularly as it continues to exist after she had won her right to an education and a salaried employment.”
New York Post


A $100 million gift
Sheryl Sandberg is transferring $100 million of her Facebook stock holdings to a fund for charitable causes. The money is reportedly earmarked for grief support groups, anti-poverty charities, and organizations focused on empowering women. The Facebook COO also recently renamed her foundation the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Fund after her late husband, who died last year.

Quieting critics
Katie Telford, chief of staff to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, told the Fortune MPW Next Gen audience that when her boss initially announced that his cabinet would be 50% female, people said it was an attack on meritocracy. "Then we announced who [the appointees] were and they have not said that since,” she said.

Festive failures
On the Fortune MPW Next Gen stage, Obi Felten, a top exec at Alphabet's research arm X, talked about how her team celebrates failures instead of fearing them. It's instituted an annual ritual similar to Día de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday when families honor their deceased relatives. The point is to bring a feeling of closure for workers on projects that didn’t take off and to celebrate “letting go.”

Dream catcher
Fortune's Clifton Leaf has an inside look at Arianna Huffington's new venture Thrive Global, which promotes—and sells—wellness in the workplace. The project will train companies on how to measure employee health, serve as a media platform for conversations about wellness, and sell gadgets that aid sleep and restfulness, such as an actual bed for smartphones. 


Taking on Twitter trolls
Every time her Bangalore-based pharmaceutical company would deliver its earnings report, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, managing director and co-founder of Biocon Ltd., would encounter Twitter trolls. They'd call her India's worst business leader, tell her to give up her stake in the firm, and say that she was the reason women shouldn’t run companies. This year she finally silenced them with a nearly 80% rally in her stock.

Dropout to judge
Susan Kiefel was just named the first female chief justice of Australia's High Court. The achievement is especially impressive since Kiefel dropped out of school at age 15, in a bid for financial independence. PM Malcolm Turnbull, in announcing the appointment, described Kiefel's story as "an inspiration."

Hugo loves Hao
Here's a Q&A with author Hao Jingfang about her book Folding Beijing, a sci-fi novelette that seems rooted in present-day China. The book won Hao a Hugo Award in August. (She beat out Stephen King.) She's the first Chinese woman to win the honor that's conferred by the World Science Fiction Society.
New York Times





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"My life wasn't so nice. I worked in a factory until I was 65, then that was that."
--Italy's Emma Morano, thought to be the world's oldest person, on Tuesday, her 117th birthday