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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 3

The world’s collection of billionaires and millionaires may be one of the most persistent boys’ clubs: Of the nearly 2,500 billionaires in the world, only about 12% are women, according to this interesting piece in the New York Times.

Women continue to break the so-called diamond ceiling to some extent: There are more wealthy or high-earning women than ever, both in the United States and around the world. Yet the number of female billionaires is actually growing only half as fast as the ranks of male billionaires, even as women’s incomes increase in the broader workforce.

Julia Pimsleur, the founder of the multimillion-dollar Little Pim language-instruction company, blames the phenomenon on unconscious bias as well as women’s insistence on providing value and obtaining freedom and flexibility in addition to wanting the big bucks. “Women want the triple win—money, meaning and mobility,” she told the Times.

Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and American Therapeutics, has a different take. She associates striking it rich with working in science and technology—so bringing more girls into those industries could get more women into the ranks of the uber wealthy. “The girl who can dominate a field of robots is a woman who can dominate a field of men,” she says.

@clairezillman

 

 

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Regular royaltyQueen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honors list of 1,197 “extraordinary people across the U.K.” was over 50% female with 603 women honorees—the most diverse ever, according to the government. Vogue U.S. editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and fashion designer Victoria Beckham were some of the celebrities to make the list, alongside lesser-known pioneers like Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, who helped to create the U.K.’s first sickle cell and thalassemia counseling center.Refinery29

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Family ties
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has resorted to borrowing some $6.3 million from her father’s political fund because traditional banks are refusing to finance her far-right National Front party. The loan will highlight Le Pen’s ties to the party’s past—her father is its former leader—at a time when she’s trying to remake its image. 
Financial Times
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Read all about it
England will celebrate a Year of Literary Heroes as Britain attempts to promote itself to the wider world as it approaches Brexit. The campaign will honor the 20th anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book and the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.
Guardian
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“Our kaftans are like us”
As kaftans, a traditional robe or tunic, move from the domestic market in Morocco to the international scene, their popularity is bringing the women who make them into the mainstream. Those who design and produce the garments can earn a respectable income in Morocco where a third of women are unemployed. 
BBC

THE AMERICAS

Juggling act
Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert has a new answer to the well-worn question: Can women have it all? Yes, she says, “You can do it all as defined by you.” She admits to encountering tradeoffs as she tried to balance work and home—she only received six weeks of maternity leave, for instance—but once she defined what “doing it all” meant for her, “I said I can do this, I can juggle it.” As a result, she managed to fit in activities like coaching her daughter’s basketball team.
Fortune
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Strong, at any age
Can a woman just shy of 100 years old sell yoga pants? Athleta is about to find out. Today the Gap Inc. athletic brand is launching the next iteration of its “Power of She” campaign that’s aimed at supporting women’s empowerment and collaboration. It will feature Tao Porchon-Lynch, a 98-year-old master yogi.
Fortune
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Insuring a star
Disney will reportedly receive one of the largest insurance payouts in history from a $41 million policy it had taken out on actress Carrie Fisher. The company, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012, had a policy to protect it from any losses if Fisher was unable to fulfill her contract to star in the new Star Wars trilogy. Fisher died last week at age 60.
Independent

ASIA-PACIFIC

That was fast
Twitter’s controversial China chief has departed after just eight months on the job. Kathy Chen’s appointment in April raised eyebrows because of her previous employment ties to China’s military and tweets that seemed to indicate her willingness to cooperate with China’s state-owned media. The country has banned Twitter since 2009. 
Wall Street Journal
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Rough rider
Danish police detained the daughter of President Park Geun-hye’s shadowy advisor yesterday after she’d ignored calls from South Korean investigators to return home. Chung Yoo-ra is the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who was indicted for allegedly using her influence with Park to extort tens of millions of dollars from big businesses. Chung has not been charged with a crime but is accused of benefiting from her mother’s influence peddling by gaining admission to a prestigious South Korean university despite poor qualifications and having a local equestrian association audited after she lost a competition to a rival.
New York Times

IN BRIEF

The unexpected year of Meghan Markle, the most-Googled actress of 2016
Washington Post

Women, we need to throw off the sexist shackles of salad
Quartz

‘I didn’t want to lose my identity’: 16,000 women reflect on their surnames
New York Times

Scarlett Johansson was 2016’s highest-grossing actor
Motto

Scottish FM Nicola Sturgeon wants another independence referendum but a majority of Scots do not
The Herald

Wine for women: Is that a selling point?
Wall Street Journal

PARTING WORDS

“Here’s to making more headlines in 2017.”
--Singer Mariah Carey after technical snafus resulted in a disastrous New Year's Eve performance