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The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 14

When Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in a shocking upset in the U.S. presidential election last month, the Western world’s collective head swiveled to Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel was unceremoniously anointed “leader of the Free World.”

But Time‘s Simon Shuster reports that Merkel is used to being underestimated and is decidedly uncomfortable with this new pressure-packed position. One critique is that she is unqualified to serve as the last defender of the liberal establishment because she can’t even keep her own country in check. Her welcoming policy toward Muslim immigrants has unsettled her support base, and there’s a question of whether she’ll even stay in power past next year.

Yet, far from seeing Trump’s victory as a demoralizing event, it seems to have galvanized Merkel. Had Clinton won, she may have stepped aside. Instead, the long-serving German leader announced her bid for reelection 11 days after Trump’s victory.

Merkel may not be the ideal caretaker of the liberal order, but so far she’s at least proven she’s willing to try.

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Gripped by guiltAs Aleppo laid under siege from the Syrian army, U.K. Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan issued a riveting speech before the House of Commons. In an emergency debate on the unfolding crisis, Allin-Khan said she is “wracked with guilt” at being able to go home and see her children, “whilst Syrian parents are burying theirs.” The U.K., she said, has failed Syrians.ITV

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Defensive dad
In a rare public statement, Prince Andrew spoke out on rumors that his brother Prince Charles was unhappy that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice are pursuing careers outside of their royal duties. Eugenie is an associate director at an art gallery, while Beatrice has reportedly launched a startup. “As a father, my wish for my daughters is for them is to be modern working young women, who happen to be members of the royal family, and I am delighted to see them building their careers,” Prince Andrew wrote, while clearing up speculation that Prince Charles felt otherwise.
Refinery29
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A Royal oversight?
For its 70th anniversary, the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour has released a list of seven women who’ve had the biggest impact over those decades. Margaret Thatcher tops the list, while fictional character Bridget Jones and pop icon Beyonce also captured the honor. But critics have already spotted one slight: the Queen did not make the cut. 
Telegraph

THE AMERICAS

Taking her own advice
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, alongside other tech leaders, will meet with Trump today in a gathering that’s supposed to focus on job creation. Rometty’s attendance and her role on another job creation advisory panel for Trump are especially notable since IBM has cut thousands of jobs in the last few years. In an op-ed yesterday, Rometty pledged to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the U.S., though her spokespeople declined to provide many specifics.
Fortune
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Lena loves Lola
Lola, a female-led organic tampon startup, announced Monday that it’s raised $7 million in Series A venture capital funding. The round brings the company’s fundraising total to $11.2 million and adds another big name to Lola’s already celeb-heavy roster of investors: Lena Dunham. The Girls star and creator joins her co-star Allison Williams and model Karlie Kloss, who both invested in the startup earlier this year.
Fortune
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Dread the thread
A Gizmodo writer is taking a stand against ‘Manthreading’ in which male Twitter users offer an explanation (that no one asked for) of some timely topic by stringing together multiple posts. The culprits “want their ideas to take up the absolute most space possible. Like Manspreading, but of digital space.” And it needs to stop.
Gizmodo
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A present-day princess
BuzzFeed has a deep dive into how Disney modernized its princesses, a process that currently culminates with Moana. “What has actually changed over time is not that each princess has rejected everything that constrained the princesses who came before her, but rather that, starting with [The Little Mermaid‘s] Ariel, the princesses all seem more human, in part because there were greater numbers of real women creating them.”
Buzzfeed

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Only time will tell
One of the remaining mysteries in the downfall of South Korean President Park Geun-hye is her whereabouts for the seven hours between the first news reports of the Sewol ferry disaster that killed 304 people in 2014 and her first TV appearance that day. That unknown may have marked a turning point in Park’s relationship with South Koreans as it bred mistrust and anger that helped fuel outrage over the current influence-peddling scandal. Today, a parliamentary panel will examine those seven hours specifically as they are included in the legislature’s motion for Park’s impeachment. There’s speculation Park was either getting a haircut or Botox injections during the window of time in question.
Reuters

 

IN BRIEF

Former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes faces new sexual harassment allegations
Fortune

Money woes are more likely to affect women throughout their life
Financial Times

How Taylor Swift could help AT&T win over cord cutters
Fortune

Kathleen Kennedy made your favorite childhood films. Now she’s reinventing Star Wars.
Wired

Rebels report women in Aleppo are choosing suicide over rape
Daily Beast

A Saudi woman was arrested for posting photos of herself without a hijab on Twitter
Motto

13 women who should think about running for U.S. president in 2020
New Yorker

PARTING WORDS

“I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones.”
--Actress Meghan Markle on being biracial in Hollywood