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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 18

One of the challenges of the World Economic Forum in Davos is that conversations take place at the highest level. It’s difficult to pluck those ideas out of the stratosphere and turn them into action.

But when asked what idea from Davos had prompted real change at his company, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, a regular at the conference, had an easy answer: equal pay.

In 2015, his software company spent $3 million to equalize its compensation. It analyzed more than 17,000 salaries by pay, job function, level, and location. If unexplained differences in pay popped up, salary adjustments were made for both men and women as needed. Roughly 6% of employees required salary tweaks, and they broke down almost evenly between men and women.

Since his company underwent the exercise, Benioff has pressured other executives to do the same. He issued the call again yesterday.

“Every CEO needs to look at if they’re paying men and woman the same. That is something that every single CEO can do today. We all have modern human resource management systems, but as a CEO are you willing to step up and say I pay men and women the same?”

His message yesterday came with a sense of urgency. “The [World Economic Forum] has said it’s going to take women something like 170 years to get to gender parity with men [at the current rate of change],” he said. “We don’t have time to wait.”



A very May dayU.K. Prime Minister Theresa May dominated the headlines yesterday, as she declared that Britain wants a clean break from the E.U. in a closely-watched speech. The country doesn’t want to be “half-in, half-out,” she said, mentioning that she wants to control immigration from Europe to Britain and remove the U.K from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.Fortune


Oh snap, an election
Voters in Northern Ireland will go to the polls on March 2 in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister and leader of the Sinn Fein party. He resigned in protest to first minister Arlene Foster’s refusal to step aside during a public inquiry into a renewable energy scheme whose costs have spiraled out of control. Foster heads the Democratic Unionist Party; the Northern Ireland peace deal requires both unionists and republicans to share power in an executive and cannot function if one side walks out. 
New York Times


Repeal and replace
Last week, Congressional Republicans passed the initial steps needed for a process known as reconciliation—a tactic that could gut parts of Obamacare by a simple majority vote in the Senate. Health care coverage isn’t the only protection at risk if the law is rolled back; part of the legislation guarantees women the time and space to breastfeed at work.

No cowards in Cuba
Josefina Vidal, who has led Cuba’s negotiating team since 2013, says the country will not be cowed by Donald Trump’s threats to undo the normalization of diplomatic relations with the U.S. “Aggression, pressure, conditions, impositions do not work with Cuba,” says the foreign ministry department head.
The Guardian

Margo heads to Mattel
Mattel, the toy maker behind Barbie and Fisher-Price, has appointed Google Americas president Margaret ‘Margo’ Georgiadis as CEO. The appointment makes Georgiadis, who steps into her new role on Feb. 8, the second woman to ever lead the company and will bring the total number of female executives on the Fortune 500 to 28 by the end of the first quarter. 


Bangladesh steps backward
Bangladesh’s parliament is expected to consider a proposed change to the Child Marriage Restraint Act during its upcoming session. The alteration would permit girls under 18 to be married in “special cases,” a move that activists are calling a step backward for the country, which has reduced child marriage in recent years.
The Guardian

A secret stakeholder?
Jan Cameron has no beneficial interest in the Black Prince Private Foundation, but her charity, the Elsie Cameron Foundation, reportedly does. Who controls the foundation—which has the largest stake in baby food maker Bellamy’s Australia—has become the central question as investors fight for control of the troubled company. Cameron is best known as the co-founder of the Kathmandu retail chain and Australia’s fourth-richest woman.
Sydney Morning Herald


How General Motors’ Mary Barra plans to create thousands of U.S. jobs

Woolworths appoints Tesco veteran Claire Peters as supermarkets boss
Sydney Morning Herald

A trillion-dollar question: Why don’t more women run mutual funds?
New York Times

How Diane Abbott ended up as the closest ally of a Labour leader
New Statesman

Putting more women on a path to political power
New York Times

TaskRabbit’s CEO on what it’s like to work with Sheryl Sandberg


“I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot.”
--American actress Betty White, who celebrated her 95th birthday yesterday