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The World’s Most Powerful Women: March 3

There’s a saying in sports that the name on the front of your jersey is what matters most. But the Swedish women’s soccer team is making the case that the words on the back are important, too.

The Swedish team, which finished second at the 2016 Olympics after upsetting the Americans, has dropped player names from the back of its shirts in favor of inspiring feminist messages. Each player selected a favorite quote from a prominent Swedish woman to appear on her jersey.

The team partnered with Adidas to launch the unconventional initiative after the country’s men’s team garnered much of the accolades and media attention at the Rio Olympics despite the women’s historic win. The limited edition jerseys go on sale on March 8, International Women’s Day. That same day, the Swedes will compete in the championship match of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Swedish organizations that support young female athletes will receive 10% of the shirts’ proceeds.

Team captain Lotta Schelin said the team jersey is a national symbol and that the phrases are a good reminder to win no matter the circumstances. “There is always a need to show young women that it is possible to succeed and that no one should feel limited in what they can achieve and particularly not because of their sex,” she said.

Here are some of the phrases players chose:

“Never look down on someone unless it is to help her up”—Swedish politician Gudrun Schyman

“To try is to be successful. The result is secondary as long as you dare”—journalist Frida Soderlund

“Believe in your damn self”—artist Zara Larsson

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Chipping inA hastily-convened conference in Brussels yesterday served as an international funding drive to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. funding for NGOs with ties to abortion. Fifty-seven nations attended the event that raised some $200 million for family planning resources. Sweden, Canada, and Finland each promised $21 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also provided $20 million. Organizers welcomed the pledges but noted that more was needed. Their goal was to raise $600 million.Associated Press

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Shielded no more
In 2015, France’s far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen posted gruesome images of ISIS violence, including a photo of journalist James Foley’s execution, with comments like “[ISIS] is THIS!” Under French law, that’s considered potential incitement of terrorist activity. However, because Le Pen is a member of the European Parliament, she was immune to prosecution. Yesterday, her peers voted to lift her immunity, meaning she could face charges leading to jail time and fines. For a potential case to go to trial before the presidential election in April and May, the French legal process must go much faster than it normally does.
Reuters
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Progress in Parliament
On Wednesday, Somalia elected new lawmakers, and the resulting Parliament is 24% female (up from 14%). The increase is due, in part, to a quota system that reserved 30% of parliamentary seats for women candidates contesting for either of the two houses. Clan elders and religious leaders had opposed the measure, dubbing it foreign-led. Others, meanwhile, saw it as a positive. Asha Gelle Dirie, chairperson of the committee that worked to secure the seats, called it “a massive victory for Somali women.”
Quartz

THE AMERICAS

Getting schooled
For the past five years, women have made up 38% of MBA applicants despite representing 45% of all business school entrance exam takers. Instead of enrolling in full-time MBA programs that require time off work, women are more likely to use their exam scores toward masters programs they can enter immediately after undergrad. Why? Money. In the U.S., 30% of female MBA applicants cited funding as their biggest obstacle, versus 9% of male applicants. “We know that in most cases women earn less than men,” says Alice Leri, an associate dean at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. “It’s going to take them longer to make up for the money they have spent on their education.”
Financial Times
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Black is the new flash point
Black is always a safe bet, right? Wrong, if you’re Melania Trump. The first lady wore a relatively simple black suit—ok, it was sequined—by American designer Michael Kors to President Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night, and online critics found reasons to be outraged. Some decried her wardrobe choice as too “glittery” and “too much” for the Capitol’s hallowed halls. Others criticized its hefty price tag: $4,595 for the skirt and $4,995 for the jacket.
New York Times
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Listen Up
For your weekend listening, cue up the latest episode of the Fortune MPW podcast featuring Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). She talks about how brands can be authentic in their storytelling.
iTunes

ASIA-PACIFIC

AI is OK
At Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Hong Kong on Tuesday, two execs downplayed the fears surrounding artificial intelligence. Vanitha Narayanan, chairman of IBM India, gave the example of a call center in Brazil that’s using IBM’s Watson technology “not to replace the call center reps, but actually help the call center reps understand their products and their offerings [better].” Likewise, Leonie Valentine, managing director of sales and operations at Google Hong Kong, says AI will allow companies to reallocate employees to “high-value tasks.”
Fortune
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Hong Kong’s richest woman
Former entertainment journalist Chan Hoi Wan became the richest woman in Hong Kong on Wednesday when her husband, property tycoon Joseph Lau, transferred an estimated $6.5 billion worth of shares in property firm Chinese Estates to her because of his poor health. Last month, Lau gave Chan a $2.3 billion gift in the form of an entire retail complex. The couple wed in December after a 10-year courtship.
Straits Times

IN BRIEF

Model Gigi Hadid lands on the cover of Vogue Arabia’s very first issue
People

Tokyo is considering transgender-friendly toilets for the 2020 Olympic Games
Time

Welsh university bans phrases like ‘right-hand man’ in favor of gender-neutral terms
Telegraph

A Paris fashion show featured a ton of over-40 models
Cosmopolitan

This 81-year-old woman created her own iPhone app
CNN

 

PARTING WORDS

“I can think of a lot of dirty words. Ambition is not one of them.”
--Actress Reese Witherspoon in a new public service campaign called 'Embrace Ambition' that seeks to reclaim the word that has often been used to vilify women.