The World’s Most Powerful Women: March 22

March 22, 2017, 8:12 AM UTC

That massive spike in American women wanting to run for office following Election Day? It wasn’t a ripple—it’s a wave, says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List. The organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women is releasing new numbers today on just how many women have inquired about entering politics following the 2016 election. The results are rather staggering: Since November 8, over 10,000 women have contacted the organization about potential runs for office—roughly ten times as many as reached out during the entire 2016 election cycle, from January 2015 to last November.

In early February, Emily’s List told Fortune its inquiry count had hit 4,000. Even those figures were unprecedented for the organization’s 32-year history.

In a statement, Schriock said the continued interest from Democratic women is due to alarm over Republicans’ agenda—the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Trump administration’s travel ban, and efforts to roll back environmental protections. “[T]hese thousands of women are fighting to ensure their voices are heard at decision-making tables in communities across the country,” she said, adding that “this is only the beginning.”

That last point is critical. How will Emily’s List and similar groups translate these raised hands into names on a ballot? Emily’s List is hosting training sessions to introduce political newcomers to the process of running for office, touching on topics like fundraising. As elections draw near, Schriock’s group will work with local partners to identify opportunities and recruit Democratic women candidates to run.

Research shows that women are just as likely as men to win office if they run, but a so-called ambition gap keeps women from entering races, the New York Times reported last year. Women are less likely than their male counterparts to be pushed to run by parents, teachers, or party leaders, and they are also less likely to run without being prodded. But that may not be the case for long: if the early numbers from Emily’s List are any indication, the past several months may have served as motivation enough.



Fading star?Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi was supposed to be the anti-establishment Five Star Movement’s best example of how an outsider could shake up Italy’s politics. But her first nine months in office have fueled criticism that the party is far more suited to tearing down government than actually running it. Raggi defended her record in a new interview with the New York Times: “It’s like building a house. Before seeing the walls coming up, you need to dig a hole to make the foundations.”New York Times


Complications and casualties
Africa has more abortion-related deaths than any other continent. Jill Filipovic investigates how the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, banning U.S.-funded NGOs from mentioning abortion, puts millions of African women directly at risk. Every year, 6 million African women end their pregnancies unsafely, and 1.6 million are treated for complications. President Donald Trump’s version of the gag rule is more aggressive than previous versions. Filipovic explains: “There is no doubt, advocates say, that the Gag Rule will mean more unplanned pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and more women injured and dead.”
Foreign Policy

Progress on the pitch
At a match today in the Northern Italy city of Verona, Patrizia Panico will make history by becoming the first woman in the football-crazy country to manage a male team. She'll lead the under-16 national team in two friendly matches against Germany. Despite her ground-breaking status, Panico's players still refer to her as "mister." Panico, who scored 110 goals in over 200 matches for Italy during her own career, says she doesn't mind: "The important thing is that there is always respect on both sides."



Lockheed leans in
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson praised President Trump for making her company's F-35 jets more "affordable" and for creating a $100 billion defense spending opportunity across NATO. Negotiations between Lockheed and the Department of Defense reportedly resulted in an 8% reduction in production costs, or a savings of $1.8 million per jet. Hewson described Lockheed's talks with the president as "positive and constructive," and noted that the "President Trump effect" is leading NATO countries to hike defense spending.
Financial Times

Banning 'brilliant jerks'
Uber board member Arianna Huffington sought to allay concerns over CEO Travis Kalanick's leadership during the first press conference since allegations of widespread sexual harassment at the ride-sharing company surfaced last month. "Going forward there can be no room at Uber for brilliant jerks, and zero tolerance for anything but totally respectable behavior," Huffington said Tuesday. In a press call with Uber's chief HR officer Liane Hornsey and regional general manager for U.S. and Canada Rachel Holt, Huffington dismissed the possibility that the results of an investigation into sexual harassment at Uber could lead to Kalanick's departure as CEO.

Honing in on higher pay
Women are making gains in the high-skilled labor market, advancing to high-paid roles faster than their male counterparts, according to a new report from economists in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. The experts examined U.S. census data to find that while men are still better-represented in the best-compensated positions, “their chances of being in such jobs have fallen over time while women’s chances are rising.”
Wall Street Journal



Schooling scandal
Controversy over the construction of a right-wing school in Japan has embroiled two high-powered women close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and undermined his feminist credentials. First Lady Akie Abe and Defense Minister Tomomi Inada face allegations of providing monetary and legal aid to education group Moritomo Gakuen, which teaches students a pre-war patriotic curriculum and whose leader is accused of bigotry against the Chinese and Koreans. The involvement of both women in the ongoing scandal is evidence of what experts call Abe’s “shallow” commitment to feminism and of Inada’s “anti-feminist” outlook.
New York Times

Culottes for all
A New Zealand primary school has done away with gendered uniforms after female students complained about compulsory skirts. After some girls started wearing trousers, they were mocked for dressing like boys. Now, the uniform has been extended to include shorts, long shorts, a kilt, trousers, or culottes that can be worn by both male and female students.
The Guardian

News summaries by Linda Kinstler @lindakinstler


Michelle Obama's New York power brunch
New York Magazine

Thinx founder Miki Agrawal accused of sexual harassment

The Queen of England's corsetière on why women still wear the wrong bra size
The Telegraph

These are the ten richest women in the world

Former national security adviser Susan Rice on how Trump's White House twists the truth
Washington Post



"It is not scientific proof of gender equality that is required, but general acceptance that women are at least the equals of men, or better."
--Theoretical physicist and self-proclaimed feminist Stephen Hawking, in an interview with Piers Morgan.