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The World’s Most Powerful Women: February 14

When Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited the White House yesterday, he met with President Donald Trump, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and female leaders to launch the United States-Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The new project is a mouthful, but—hopefully—signals the ascension of women’s economic issues on President Trump’s priority list.

The meeting’s high-profile attendees included General Electric Canada CEO Elyse Allan, TransAlta Corp. CEO Dawn Farrell, Accenture North America CEO Julie Sweet, and Monique Leroux, chair of the board of directors for Investissement Québec. Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Dina Powell, an assistant to President Trump and a senior counselor for economic initiatives, were also there.

An official from Trudeau’s office reportedly reached out to Trump’s team to talk about working together on women in the workforce, since the subject seems to be a shared interest of the two leaders. President Trump did enter unchartered territory for a Republican when he advocated for six weeks of paid maternity leave on the campaign trail, but his proposal could stand to borrow some elements of Canada’s leave policy. New mothers there can take up to 17 weeks of leave. After that, both parents can share another 37 weeks off.

At the meeting yesterday, Trump said, “We must ensure our economy is a place where women can work and thrive.” But his own administration has not necessarily reflected the gist of that dictum. Whereas Trudeau has maintained gender parity in his cabinet, just four of Trump’s 22 picks for cabinet-level advisors are women.

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Headscarf headacheFemale members of the Swedish government, who were praised for trolling Trump with their bill signing photograph, are now facing criticism for wearing headscarves on a trip to Iran. One critic said the move was “ruinous to what is called a feminist foreign policy.” Trade Minister Ann Linde, meanwhile, said she did not want to break Iranian law nor was she willing to exercise what she saw as the only other option: sending an all-male delegation.BBC

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Mayday!
Greece is the No. 1 ship-owning nation by tonnage in the world; it controls about a fifth of the world’s merchant fleet. But women are largely absent from the nation’s dominance in the industry. Just 17 women have been among the 2,704 Greek captains named since 2010. Its shortage of women reflects a world-wide trend; women make up about 2% of the shipping workforce globally. 
Wall Street Journal
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Sexist text?
Brexit secretary David Davis is under fire for a leaked text message he sent about fellow MP Diane Abbott. Davis reportedly told a friend that reports that he’d had tried to hug Abbott following the Brexit vote last week were false because he’s “not blind.” Davis apologized, but other MPs called the comment “sexist and patronizing.”
Guardian

 

THE AMERICAS

In moderation
NPR has a profile of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate Republican who wields more power than ever in a polarized Senate. Collins, a senator since 1997 and one of two Republicans to vote against Betsy DeVos as education secretary, has always hovered near the political middle. But now that the GOP controls the Senate by a slim margin, much depends on whether Collins unifies with her Republican peers or joins Democrats as a check against Trump’s agenda.
NPR
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Mothers of music
At the Grammys Sunday night, top honorees Adele and Beyonce offered contrasting portraits of motherhood. In her acceptance speech, Adele recalled “los[ing] a lot of herself” after giving birth, while Beyonce spoke of the adoration a daughter has for her mother in her performance of “Accountability:” “You desperately want to look like her/You look nothing like your mother/You look everything like your mother/Film star beauty.”
Fortune
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Here we go again?
In Politico, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush argues that Hillary Clinton will run for president a third time. He says his prediction is not based on “inside information.” Instead, he points to signs Clinton “is doing everything she needs to do to run…one more time.” On the list: scaling back the most scandal-plagued arm of her foundation, letting rumors of a run for NYC mayor percolate, and signing a new book deal.
Politico

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

All over again
Last we heard of Lee Jae-yong’s involvement in the South Korean presidential scandal, a court had denied a warrant for the arrest of the Samsung heir. But Lee is entangled in the controversy again as South Korean prosecutors summoned him for a fresh round of questioning yesterday. They are still trying to pinpoint the payments Samsung made to organizations linked to President Park Geun-hye’s shadowy confidant Choi Soon-sil.
Wall Street Journal
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Phone a friend
For four years, India’s Uttar Pradesh state has operated the “Woman Power Line” that receives complaints of harassment from women. The hotline got nearly 700,000 calls between 2012 and 2016, 90% of which dealt with phone harassment. A team of women receives the initial complaints, then a male police constable calls the harasser back with a warning to halt the abuse. Most harassers stop after the threat, but the line has led to 600 arrests.
Hindustan Times

 

IN BRIEF

Katy Perry gives nod to Elizabeth Warren in Grammys performance
Boston Globe

Interest in birth control startups surges in the Trump era
Fast Company

A Princess Diana documentary is coming to primetime on ABC
Entertainment Weekly

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty defends her role advising Trump
Wall Street Journal

The Women’s March organizers are staging a Valentine’s Day protest in the name of “revolutionary love”
Bustle

University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team wins its 100th straight game
Sports Illustrated

PARTING WORDS

“I was more determined to be a leading lady to show that girls can look like me, and we can be leading ladies.”
--Actress Jessica Alba, on being told her ethnicity would keep her from being a star.