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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 20

At a venue on a mountainside above Davos, Switzerland, last night, female corporate executives and women in politics held a private dinner to talk about the gender gap in leadership worldwide.

KPMG U.S. Chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie, who assumed her role in July 2015, was there and this morning told me a bit about what was discussed. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and IMF chief Christine Lagarde were among those in attendance, but women “who are maybe a few steps away from the C-suite” were there too, Doughtie said. The goal was to not just talk about the problem, but to identify one or two things that attendees could do in their organizations to make a difference in fixing the leadership deficit.

One consensus was that women in the next generation need more encouragement to “take risks, be confident, and go for it,” Doughtie said.

To Doughtie, that means those at the top of an organization must hold their leadership team accountable for providing opportunities to a diverse mix of up-and-comers. “As I’m having those conversations, I’m asking, ‘Tell me about the talent that you have on your list that you’re personally responsible for getting to the next level,'” she said. “It’s not just about setting quotas and trying to reach certain percentages. To make those percentages happen, there have to be real names associated with the goals,” she said.

At the individual level, women have to get over the fear of failure and embrace opportunities to progress in their careers. “Too many times,” she said, “I’m in a position of having to encourage people to do that.”

She says she didn’t necessarily have “every single thing” needed for the job of chairman and CEO when she took over, “but that’s the importance of building a team,” she said. “You’re not doing it all by yourself. I think there’s a tendency with some women especially to internalize, and think, ’I have to be perfect at everything before I’m going to put myself out there,'” she said. “We’ve got to change that mindset. And I think it starts with confidence.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Nice tryU.K. PM Theresa May received a frosty reception at Davos yesterday as she tried to assure the forum that the Brexit vote “was not a rejection of our friends in Europe. It was not an attempt to become more distant from them.” Members of the audience, known for championing globalization, were not buying it. Politico

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Out in front
The National Front’s Marine Le Pen has taken the lead in a major survey of voters’ intentions for the first round of France’s presidential election. She garnered between 25% and 26% support compared with 23% to 25% for Republican candidate Francois Fillon, according to the poll. Last month, she trailed Fillon by about three points.
Bloomberg

THE AMERICAS

Readying for resistance
As Donald Trump takes the oath of office today, Democrats in the U.S. Congress are steeling themselves for four years of contentious battles over healthcare, the environment, immigration reform and income inequality. Among the female senators expected to play key roles in the fight are California’s Kamala Harris, Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, and Washington’s Pramila Jayapal.
The Guardian
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Not leaving
The number of women taking maternity leave in the U.S. has flatlined for the last two decades, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. It notes that women may opt out of maternity leave—even if it’s paid—because they’re worried about being replaced. The number of men taking paternity leave, meanwhile, more than tripled, increasing from 5,800 a month to 22,000.
Fortune
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Similar suits
The U.S. Labor Department has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase accusing the bank of paying women less than comparable male co-workers over the last five years. The company says it’s committed to diversity in the workplace. Gender also figures into another Labor Department lawsuit against Oracle America. The software company is accused of systematically paying its white, male employees more than other workers and unlawfully favoring Asian applicants in its recruiting and hiring efforts. Oracle says those claims are baseless.
Fortune

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Prove it
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong won’t be arrested in the South Korea influence-peddling scandal after all. A court blocked a request by prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant after finding a lack of evidence. Lee was accused of paying bribes to President Park Geun-hye’s confidant Choi Soon-sil.
Guardian
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Help wanted
Jin Bianling, the wife of Chinese rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, is on a quest to secure the release of her husband, who’s been in custody since November. Jin has already appealed to U.S. officials for help, and now she’s asking German Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise her husband’s case with the Chinese authorities.
New York Times

IN BRIEF

The surprising way Facebook is making its workforce more diverse
Fortune

Things men won’t do if it doesn’t look ‘manly’
The Times

Donald Trump’s mother: From a Scottish island to New York’s elite
BBC

African women form a united front in the battle for equality
The Guardian

Meet the newest woman to join the top ranks at Goldman Sachs
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

“I hope it’s big, and I hope it feels great. I think it will.”
Full Frontal host Samantha Bee on the Women’s March on Washington, happening tomorrow