The World’s Most Powerful Women: March 9

March 9, 2017, 8:45 AM UTC

There was plenty of symbolism to mark International Women’s Day yesterday. Women wore red, skipped work, and refused to shop. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives staged a walkout. A bookstore in Cleveland, Ohio turned around male-authored books so only the spines of female-authored books showed. Female writers at Jezebel joined the general women’s strike so the female-focused news site only featured men’s bylines. Vice’s Broadly vertical posted a video of a dumpster fire as an “extremely subtle visual metaphor.”

But one of the most moving acts of defiance appeared at the center of the American financial industry, notorious for its macho culture and dearth of women. Between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, State Street Global Advisors installed a 50-inch bronze statue of a defiant little girl a few paces from Wall Street’s famous charging bull. The girl stands tall, fists on hips, staring down the beast.

The monument “represents the future,” State Street says. And it’s the visual component of the firm’s new effort to pressure 3,500 companies to aim for gender parity on their boards. So far, the statue is a sensation, generating headlines the world over and attracting onlookers to the small brick-laid patch at the foot of Broadway.

The statue is scheduled to remain on the bull’s corner for one week, but State Street has already asked New York City to extend its permit for a month. VP of PR Anne McNally says the firm is “absolutely supportive of it being permanent as a work of art and a broader statement about gender diversity.” Whether that happens is up to the city’s Parks Department, she says. The Parks Department did not immediately return my request for comment on the statue’s fate.

I, for one, hope the statue secures an indelible spot in the city, blocks from the pumping heart of capitalism. “I see it as a piece that every woman can and should relate to,” sculptor Kristen Visbal said of her creation. “The bull is symbolic of every issue coming down the pike, that [women] can stand firm and hold their ground and deal with it.”



Not so nobleA British aristocrat has been charged with sending malicious communications to Gina Miller, the businesswoman who successfully sued the U.K. government over its plans to trigger Article 50. Miller has received thousands of abusive messages and death threats online since bringing the Brexit case. Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, a hereditary peer, holds the titles of 4th Viscount St. Davids, Lord Strange of Knockin, Lord Hungerford, and Lord de Moleyns. He will appear in court in April.Buzzfeed


Old holiday, new traditions
Arab refugee women living in Germany are intimately acquainted with the emancipatory power of International Women's Day, even if they might have only recently learned of the holiday. "International Women's Day isn't just about giving roses, as is promoted on social networking sites," one refugee, Nesrine, told Deutsche Welle. "It's about assessing how a woman's social and economic status has developed...Finding out about the day leads them to ask their husbands for gifts like an iron or a washing machine."
Deutsche Welle

No healthcare here
Liguria, a region in northern Italy, introduced a new initiative in time for International Women's Day: banning women in Islamic face veils from hospitals and other public institutions. Officials in support of the measure are characterizing it as a nod to feminism—something that's rare in the nation with a widening gender pay gap and a domestic violence epidemic. But critics say the proposal is discriminatory and possibly unconstitutional. Said one local resident: "The idea that in 2017, a woman could be forbidden access to essential healthcare solely based on the clothes she is wearing is horrifying."
Washington Post


Now walk it out
Democratic congresswomen staged a walkout from the House floor in honor of yesterday's "A Day Without a Woman" strike. "In the words of the Women's March, today we raise our voices to say that ‘women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability,'” Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said in a statement. The lawmakers returned to the House chamber to vote on a defense spending bill.

Thanks, Trudeau
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau spent yesterday's holiday announcing a $650 million, three-year initiative to improve sexual and reproductive health issues around the world. The project will focus on supporting family planning and sexual health education, as well as providing funding for contraceptives. 

Take it to the bank
In the first two months of this year, hedge funds owned or managed by women significantly outperformed the overall hedge fund industry, returning 3.65% versus 2.23%. That means that if you had invested $1 million in the typical hedge fund—the vast majority of which are run by men—at the start of 2017, you'd now be $22,300 richer. But if you'd instead invested the $1 million with a female hedge fund manager, you'd already have made $36,500, or $14,200 more than if you'd gone the traditional route.


Smell of success
In the latest episode of the podcast How I Built This, Mei Xi explains how she emigrated to the United States after training as a diplomat in China. An interest in American housewares prompted her to start her own company on a whim. Using empty Campbell's soup cans as a mold, she launched Chesapeake Bay Candle, which now generates a reported $60 million in annual revenue. 

Perfect fit
Women dominate the financial sector in Thailand, where they comprise 57% of the industry workforce. Job applicants, too, tend to be mostly female, leading some firms to "pay special attention" to the number of men hired. "Financial jobs require very detailed and cautious persons," says Voravan Tarapoom, CEO of BBL Asset Management. "This may fit the female character more."

Pink in Pakistan
Karachi celebrated International Women's Day with the debut of a new taxi company servicing exclusively female customers, driven by an all-female team of drivers that it calls "pilots." Paxi Pakistan Company hopes to ensure that women feel safe hailing a cab and soon plans to expand to Lahore and Islamabad.

News summaries by Linda Kinstler @lindakinstler



Here's what Hillary Clinton wants you to remember on International Women's Day

See photos of International Women's Day celebrations around the globe
The Guardian

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"What I have often done in those situations is, I use another language...or, I start singing."
--IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, on how to make an inattentive audience listen to what you have to say.