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The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 23

As 2016 mercifully comes to a close, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon—at least when it comes to women in corporate leadership.

Fortune‘s Valentina Zarya reports that by the end of the first quarter of 2017, there will be 27 women leading Fortune 500 companies, thanks to recent CEO appointments such as Michele Buck at Hershey and Kathryn Marinello at Hertz. That eclipses the 24 female CEOs who served in 2014 as the most ever.

Twenty-seven women CEOs out of 500 companies total is still a paltry share, but the progress it indicates is a bit of positivity to take into the new year.

clairezillman

WMPW is off next week. Have a joyful and restorative holiday, and—as always—thanks so much for reading.

 

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

A final contenderThe BBC has a search underway for a new chair. Deirdre Hutton, a career civil servant, has emerged on a final shortlist of three for the position. Hutton chairs the Civil Aviation Authority and has held a number of senior public roles over the last 30 years, including chair of the Food Standards Agency, head of the Scottish and National Consumer Councils and deputy chair of the Financial Services Authority.Financial Times

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Cabinet controversy
On Monday, I reported that Lebanon had selected a man as minister of its newly-created department of women’s affairs. Feminist groups have expressed outrage at the pick and are calling for protests. Nasri Atallah, a Lebanese writer, described it as “the ultimate act of mansplaining.”
Guardian
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Stay in school
A new study from Oxford says there’s a simple way to boost secondary school attendance among girls in Africa: give them sanitary pads and lessons on puberty. In some countries, girls are considered “dirty” when they menstruate, which prompts them to stay home, and oftentimes they rely on ineffective absorbency methods that also make it difficult to attend school. 
Quartz

THE AMERICAS

Trump’s ‘witch hunt?’
This week, Trump’s transition team asked the State Department to hand over all information about “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding”—a directive that has raised red flags among those who worry the new administration will purge programs that promote women’s equality and the employees that work on them. It’s not clear what the goal of the request is. One official said the Trump team could want to prioritize gender issues or “you could look at it as a witch hunt.”
Washington Post
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Still under fire
Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson met with Donald Trump this week in what she called a “productive” sit-down, but the president-elect continues to target the company about the price of its fighter jet program for the Defense Department. “Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” Trump posted on Twitter. Experts say Boeing’s older generation jet lacks certain capabilities of Lockheed’s F-35. “It’s like comparing an old jeep to a Humvee.”
Fortune
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The dental hygiene queen
The profession of dental hygienist lost its rockstar this month as Esther Wilkins passed away at age 100. Before Wilkins wrote the comprehensive textbook for the study of dental hygiene there was no standard way to teach the field. Her approach is now employed worldwide. She is also credited with making the job about more than just teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments; she taught hygienists to be educators and caregivers. 
NPR

 

 

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

A cash crisis
Women in India often keep bundles of cash stashed away in hidden spots, with some collecting tens of thousands of rupees over the years. The recent cash crackdown there is putting their savings at risk since they are kept out of the banking system. Managing household income is seen as a man’s pursuit. Now, women are handing their life savings over to their husbands and incurring hefty taxes for depositing large sums at banks. 
Guardian
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The downside of dependents
Japan PM Shinzo Abe has unveiled a new strategy in his ongoing effort to get more women to work: tax reform. Next year, Japan will raise the amount of money a dependent spouse can earn. The change targets a trend in which wives limit their hours on purpose so their husbands can garner the tax benefits of claiming them as dependents. 
Financial Times

IN BRIEF

JetBlue passengers removed from flight after harassing Ivanka Trump
Fortune

Kellyanne Conway lands White House job as counselor to the president
USA Today

Emma Stone: Filmmakers ‘laughed at my joke’ then gave it to male co-stars
Motto

Will this new law stop Pakistan’s women from living in fear?
CNN

In India, it’s not easy to report on rape
Washington Post

Lorena Bobbitt is done being your punchline
Huffington Post

PARTING WORDS

“Being a proud feminist helped me come to terms with who I am and what my beauty stands for… Beauty needs to be about empowering women.”
--Actress Priyanka Chopra, on landing a major beauty campaign