The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 15

The Fortune 500 will get another female CEO next year when Kathryn Marinello takes over as president and CEO of Hertz, the rental car company. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who’s Hertz’s biggest shareholder, gushed over Marinello’s hire in a statement Tuesday, calling her “a proven CEO” who is “the right person to lead Hertz as we move forward.”

But Marinello will take over amid a troubling stretch for the company; it’s missed analysts’ earnings estimates in all but two quarters since 2013. Against that backdrop, Marinello’s appointment fits into the glass cliff phenomenon, in which women leaders are more likely to be offered the top position at companies that are struggling or in crisis. Recent research from Utah State University found that of the 50 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies through 2014, 42% were appointed during times of crisis, compared with 22% of a matched sample of men in the same period.

Earlier this year, Fortune‘s Jennifer Reingold detailed how this trend works against women: When they are not able to turn their firm around, it’s a confirmation bias: They really don’t have what it takes. They couldn’t cut it. That’s not to say every woman on the glass cliff slips off. Mary Barra, for instance, has navigated GM since 2014 despite the auto maker recalling 2.6 million cars just days after her appointment. If Icahn’s insight is any indication, perhaps Marinello will find similar success.



Taking actionEnglish actress Felicity Jones, who plays Jyn Erso in the new Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, says going back to Sigourney Weaver in Alien, "there's a great tradition of wonderful leading female heroes," and the number of current lead roles for women in action films is "a wonderful moment for cinema."BBC


Fear not
Glenda Jackson went from Hollywood royalty to a member of U.K. Parliament where she waged fierce attacks against then PM Tony Blair over the Iraq War. Now she's back to acting, most recently as King Lear, Shakespeare's most grueling part. Through it all, the 80-year-old has gained a reputation as scary. “I’ve never understood the fear thing," she says. 

A suit's secrets
Curators at the Victoria & Albert Museum discovered two small throat lozenges in a pocket of one of Margaret Thatcher's suits as they prepared it to go on display. Thatcher's voice was nothing if not distinctive, and the museum workers say the lozenges are perhaps the reason why she was able to speak with such force. Said one curator: "The discovery gives a wonderful insight into the person behind the suit—we now know the secret behind that distinctively recognizable voice.”


The biggest breach
Marissa Mayer's Yahoo dished out another serving of terrible news yesterday when it revealed that it was hit by yet another hacking attack—this one in 2013—that affected more than 1 billion user accounts. That constitutes the biggest such breach in history—even bigger than the hack of 500,000 Yahoo accounts from 2014, which the company disclosed in September. The latest hacking news also darkens the cloud over phone giant Verizon’s plan to acquire Yahoo.

A trio for Trump
President-elect Donald Trump has added PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi as the third female chief executive on his 19-person "Strategic and Policy Forum" that already included GM's Barra and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Nooyi's appointment is especially notable since comments she made post-election were misconstrued and used by Trump supporters as ammo in a boycott of Pepsi products.

Not toying around
Like a lone adult among rambunctious teenagers, Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first female president, chastised exports executive Roberto Fantuzzi this week after he gave economy minister Luis Felipe Cespedes a sex doll as a gag gift at a company event. The doll had the words—"To stimulate the economy"—printed on a sign taped to its mouth. Bachelet tweeted yesterday that the gesture would not be tolerated, and that respect for women is a tenet of her governance. Both men have apologized.



News you can't use
If you need any more proof of India's preference for boys, look no further than the daily newspaper Mangalam, in Kerala state in southern India, which recently printed scientifically unfounded tips on how women can conceive boy babies. Its advice: eat a lot and sleep facing the west. The sex of a child is actually determined by the chromosomes in the father's sperm.

Dear Donald
Zheng Churan, 26, is one of China's “Feminist Five,” a group of women who were detained by Chinese authorities on the eve of International Women’s Day last year for planning to distribute flyers about sexual harassment on public transportation. One of her previous campaigns "Occupy Men’s Toilets" prompted a local government to add more female public toilets. She recently sent a letter to Trump warning him not to spread what she calls "straight-man cancer" because "feminists are watching you."


New documentary reveals how women's lives are ruined by lies spread online

America's Got Talent star Jackie Evancho to sing at Trump's inauguration
Rolling Stone

Brazil's MasterChef champion is now a feminist icon

The women of Standing Rock—in photos

Japan PM Shinzo Abe again pledges to help empower the nation's women
Japan Times

Marine Le Pen could win the French election—but first she must win a family feud
Washington Post


"You should be reflective of the world you live in."
--Model Joan Smalls on how the fashion industry's definition of beauty should be more inclusive.

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