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The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 9

South Korea’s National Assembly voted today to impeach the nation’s first female president Park Geun-hye over the bizarre influence-peddling scandal involving her close advisor Choi Soon-sil that prompted weeks of mass protests. The nation’s Constitutional Court now has six months to decide whether the charges in the impeachment proceeding are true and merit her ouster. If the vote is upheld, Park will get the dubious honor of being the first South Korean president elected democratically to not serve a full five-year term.

Fortune‘s Laura Cohn reports that—more broadly—the impeachment vote is bad news for women in the nation, who are already vastly underrepresented in politics. In terms of female representation, the National Assembly is 17% female, ranking it 111th out of 193 countries tracked by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It’s no surprise then that Park secured office not as part of a larger push for gender equality, but because of her unique familial ties. She’s the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee, who ruled in the 1960s and 1970s before being assassinated in 1979.

That’s not to say Park couldn’t have moved the needle for gender equality. “Had Park been more successful, it would have helped to confirm women’s competence and capability, but it still would not have turned the tide,” says Yun Sun, senior associate at the Stimson Center, a non-partisan think tank in Washington. Now women in South Korea won’t get even that pathetic bit of progress.

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Editing for equalityThe BBC wrapped up its “100 Women” season with an international edit-a-thon to add more female profiles to Wikipedia, where women had constituted just 17% of all biographies. BBC bureaus across the world, along with volunteers, added overlooked female pioneers to the site and improved existing biographies of women. BBC

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A retrograde rule
This week, Lebanese women in bloodstained wedding dresses protested in Beirut to encourage the government to repeal a 1940s law that says a rapist will not be punished if he marries his victim. Parliament is currently discussing the law, and demonstrators say it should be nixed because it violates survivors’ rights. Female activists there are hopeful that recent political shifts will prompt action on the law. The nation had been without a president for more than two years.
Christian Science Monitor

THE AMERICAS

A rigid White House
Donald Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway suggested that she’d turn down an official job at the White House because it would be too hard on her family life. It seems as though the men on Trump’s team told Conway they wouldn’t want their own wives to accept the demanding positions they were offering her. HuffPo‘s Emily Peck writes that Conway’s comments hint at how starkly the Trump White House will abide by traditional gender roles, while also suggesting that perhaps this is Conway’s elegant way of “dump[ing] Trump.” 
Huffington Post
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Bad taste
Trump has selected Andrew Puzder as his nominee for Labor secretary, a move that could further estrange some members of Trump’s female constituency. Puzder is CEO of the company that operates fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., which are known for commercials featuring nearly naked women eating burgers. In a 2011 press release, the company said, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.” Puzder defended the ads last year, saying: “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
NPR
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An ideal ally
The Harvard Business Review asked senior men and women leaders at Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations about the behaviors of men who “champion” women at work, and it identified some trends. These men use their authority to push workplace culture toward gender equality, they think about gender inclusiveness as part of effective talent management, they provide gender-aware mentoring, and they practice “other-focused” leadership.
Harvard Business Review

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Where to?
Jean Liu, president of Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing, made the Financial Times‘ Women of 2016 list, in part, because Didi won its war with Uber this year as the U.S. company sold its Chinese operations for a 20% stake in its onetime rival. The FT says the contest with Uber was just a warm-up. Liu must now morph Didi from a $35 billion taxi company into a global Internet powerhouse.
Financial Times

IN BRIEF

Sheryl Sandberg says fake news on Facebook didn’t sway the election
Fortune

A former Bayer VP says she was fired for defending a pregnant colleague
Fortune

Germany’s top court rules Muslim schoolgirls must join swimming lessons
Reuters

History-making Somali-American legislator reports ‘hateful’ taunts in D.C.
NPR

Woman described as Canada’s Rosa Parks to appear on banknote
Associated Press

Gloria Steinem on whether it’s possible to feel compassion for Trump
New York Magazine

PARTING WORDS

“After going through my own long, painful and torturous divorce, I was inspired to find a way to help other women in crisis find their own place of yes and strength.”
--Real Housewife, Skinnygirl founder, and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel on her hew partnership with Dress for Success