The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 6

January 6, 2017, 9:52 AM UTC

Menstruating at work is hardly one of women’s most pressing problems. Or so argues Guardian opinion writer Abi Wilkinson. She’s taken issue with Zambia’s so-called Mother’s Day, one day a month that women can take off for menstruating. Wilkinson says there is good reason to question the logic of this practice since women have fought hard to discourage the notion that a period makes them weak or less able to function fully.

Zambia’s Mother’s Day is reminiscent of the Fast Company story I featured in July that presented the economic case for employers to supply women with sanitary items and for period-talk to be considered less taboo in the workplace. At the time I argued that that line of thinking felt regressive, since working women have managed to scale corporate hierarchies and blast through barriers with little accommodation for even the most disruptive of female traits—the ability to give birth. Asking employers and male co-workers now to be more sensitive to our most mundane attribute felt like speeding backward in time.

Wilkinson entered the argument with a counter-offer: women should receive at least one monthly “pay gap day” to represent women’s pay disparity. Interestingly enough, women in Iceland have been putting this idea into practice for years, albeit with less frequency than Wilkinson suggests. On October 24, they leave work early. This year they trimmed the work day by two hours and 22 minutes or 30% to represent their pay gap. Their message is, essentially: if we were men, we would have earned our entire paycheck by now. The protest spread to France in November.

Women’s pay gap is certainly more worthy of its own “day,” after all, it’s much more painful and persistent than any period.



Crystal clearNadja Swarovski, a member of the 120-year-old Austrian crystal company's executive board, talked to Business of Fashion about the company's plans for 2017. A top priority is adopting new technology for the production, marketing, and distribution of its products, plus it wants to further embrace sustainability. "Perhaps 2017 will be more about creating an industry of values, especially with so much uncertainty in the world," she said. Business of Fashion


Cover girl
The Economist has dedicated its latest cover to the U.K. prime minister with the headline: Theresa Maybe. The accompanying story is part biography, part analysis of her first six months in office: "A prime minister who had won a general election, or even a contested party leadership campaign, would have had to give some sense of how she would make such choices [about Brexit]. But Mrs. May has done neither of those things. Thus for an idea of how she reads the lay of the unknown land ahead, and how adept she will prove at navigating it, it pays to look closely at who she is and where she came from."

From trial to trailblazer
Jill Saward, who became a pioneer as the first British rape victim to waive her anonymity, died yesterday at age 51. Saward was raped at home in 1986, aged 21. Her case received widespread attention because the judge said at trial that her trauma had "not been so great." She dedicated the next 30 years of her life to fighting for victims' rights.


Missed opportunity
WMPW mentioned yesterday that four women were top contenders to replace Megyn Kelly at Fox News, but the network announced that the coveted 9 p.m. slot is going to host Tucker Carlson instead. According to Politico, Carlson's ascension to the spot "ensures that the core of Fox News Channel's lineup is reliably conservative, male and generally friendly to President-elect Donald Trump."

Greta's new gig
In more cable news news, former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is headed to MSNBC. She will host a new show called For the Record, which will debut on January 9 at 6 p.m. Van Susteren left Fox News last fall following the ouster of network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

Legally binding
Women continue to make small, slow gains in the partnership ranks of major U.S. law firms. Women made up 22.13% of partners last year, compared with 21.46% in 2015. For context, women made up 45% of law firms' lower associate ranks in 2016. 
New York Times


See something, do something
Indian Olympian Krishna Poonia, a discus thrower, is being credited with saving girls from sexual assault in Bangalore during New Year celebrations. She says she spotted three men trying to molest two teenage girls at a railway crossing on January 1. "I chased and caught of one of them, and then helped the girls file a complaint," she said. A police inspector thanked Poonia for intervening and said the men will soon be charged.

In session
South Korean President Park Geun-hye's impeachment trial got underway yesterday, with her lawyers saying there is no evidence to back the corruption allegations that prompted the National Assembly to vote for her ouster. The Constitutional Court must uphold that vote for it to become official. The court's initial hearing was delayed by Park's absence, but it decided to proceed Thursday without her.


Why women are driving divorce in Bangladesh's capital

When employers ban kids in the workplace, they’re really banning moms

The Washington Post used the male symbol to announce a historic women’s march

Why you’ll see thousands of pink ‘pussy hats’ at the women’s march on Washington
New York Magazine

A U.K. police commissioner fights to stop funding cuts for women’s shelters

This Saudi feminist pop anthem disses Donald Trump

What leaving the Marines for Wall Street taught me about success


"Wallowing is a luxury we can’t afford. There’s too much at stake."
--Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and gender equality advocate on the year ahead.