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The World’s Most Powerful Women: February 27

When the Academy Awards got underway last night, seven female nominees had the chance to make Oscars history.

In the end, only one did. Viola Davis won the award for best supporting actress for her performance in Fences, making her the first black person to achieve acting’s Triple Crown—winning a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar.

Two other actresses, Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer, could have made history in their own right but didn’t snag awards Sunday night. Likewise, director Ava DuVernay, producer Kimberly Steward, film editor Joi McMillon, and sound editor Ai-Ling Lee could’ve broken ground in their respective categories, but they all went home empty-handed too.

Those in the latter group stood out as women recognized in non-acting categories, which are still dominated—to the tune of 80%—by men, according to a study by the Women’s Media Center. The most blatant boys’ club is the category of cinematography, which has—for the Oscars’ entire 89-year history—never seen a female nominee. Women were also absent among best director nominees for the seventh year in a row.

Women may be scarce in these award categories because they are underrepresented in the profession’s upper echelon overall. San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found last month that just 17% of directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the 250 top-grossing films in the U.S. in 2016 were women.

Davis got to the heart of the problem in 2015 in her Emmys acceptance speech, when she referenced being the first African-American to win for best actress in a drama. “Let me tell you something,” she said. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”



Protesting proDuring Spain’s economic crisis, Ada Colau was at the center of anti-eviction protests, megaphone in hand. That catapulted her into politics, and she became Barcelona’s first female mayor in 2015. Now she’s standing her ground again, this time versus U.S. President Donald Trump. Colau launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #NoenNuestroNombre—”not in our name”—and participated in Barcelona’s women’s march. “[Trump] questions human rights and says sexist and racist things,” she says. “You have to put limits on diplomacy with someone like that.”NPR


Hussain heats up
Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is getting her own cooking TV show. Hussain, who won the popular British baking competition in 2015, will star in an eight-part series for BBC Two called Nadiya’s British Food Adventure. It will feature Hussain as she seeks out great examples of British food on a road trip through the country’s different regions. Last year, she explored her culinary roots in Bangladesh in a two-part series.

There’s an app for that
London-based entrepreneur Michelle Kennedy, who had a hand in launching dating app Bumble, has a new venture in Peanut, an app to help new moms connect with their peers. She hatched the idea after feeling isolated and lonely following the birth of her first child. “I wanted to just hang out with another woman who could tell me: ‘don’t feel guilty, sometimes this is boring,’” she says. 


There’s more to it
Following the blockbuster sexual harassment claims by ex-Uber employee Susan Fowler last week, LinkedIn’s Caroline Fairchild talked to several former Uber engineers to get a better sense of the culture inside the ride-sharing company. Says one woman: “I really wanted to believe that my experience was an exception, and that I failed at Uber because I deserved to fail, not because of factors beyond my control. Every time I hear a story like [Fowler’s]… I realize that this was the norm.”

Mother of the movement
Shannon Coulter, a digital marketing specialist, is the unlikely leader of the digital army now supporting the “Grab Your Wallet” boycotts of products and retailers associated with Trump or his family. Enraged by the video released in October of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, Coulter started her campaign with a tweet, but it soon ignited into a nationwide blaze.
New York Times

Spacing out
Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief science officer under President Barack Obama, testified last week—along with three others—before the House Science, Space, and Technology committee. She said that Americans can expect a lunar habitat by the 2020s and humans in Mars orbit in 2032. But when the White House publicized the hearing, it left Stofan—the only female participant—out of all recaps and a photo of those who spoke. She says her exclusion is likely due to her Democratic affiliation. “[B]ut the optics of being the only woman…You know, I understand, that’s the way the system works,” she says, adding: “I hope we’re turning away from that system.”


Trademarking Trump
Chinese companies are betting that the Ivanka Trump name will sell items like diet pills, anti-wrinkle cream, spa services, massage machines, cosmetic surgery, underwear, and sanitary napkins. Some 258 trademark applications were submitted with variations of Ivanka, Ivanka Trump, and similar sounding Chinese characters in China between November 10 and the end of last year. 
Washington Post

Unfit for the big screen
An award-winning movie Lipstick Under My Burkha was refused a certificate by India’s Central Board of Film Certification for being “lady oriented.” The board said its “sexual scenes, abusive words, [and] audio pornography” also raised red flags. Alankrita Shrivastava directed the film about four “feisty” women in small-town India who pursue their dreams and desires through rebellion. She says: “Why is it okay for women to be shown as mere objects of male fantasy, but not women with agency over themselves?”



George W. Bush’s daughter Barbara will keynote a Planned Parenthood fundraiser

China’s landmark one-child policy reversal doesn’t seem to be working

Chimamanda Adichie says there aren’t enough children’s books that tell African realities

How tech and gender inclusivity are propelling the toy industry

Kung fu grandma is China’s new internet sensation


“My inner critic is strong, but I am stronger. I challenge you not to deny yourselves.”
--Actress Aja Naomi King at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood ceremony. Her performance in 'The Birth of a Nation' was considered a breakthrough, but the film bombed after controversy erupted over filmmaker Nate Parker’s past rape case.