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The World’s Most Powerful Women: March 31

Oxford University yesterday revealed the identities of the individuals whose portraits it’s adding to its walls in an effort to “promote gender diversity” and move away from hallways lined with pictures of dead white men.

“We’re not taking anyone down—but the portraits have been almost exclusively men and we’re just beginning to redress the balance,” Trudy Coe, Oxford’s head of equality, told the BBC.

Scientist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, author Jeanette Winterson, broadcasters Esther Rantzen and Reeta Chakrabarti, and criminologist and disability rights campaigner Marie Tidball are among those whose likenesses will be featured. Those chosen for the honor have links to the university and were nominated by current students or staff.

Oxford’s move to diversify its walls follows students’ unsuccessful effort last year to topple an on-campus statue of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. They argued that the legacy of Rhodes, who founded the De Beers diamond empire and is credited with starting the policy of enforced racial segregation in South Africa, is not worth celebrating.

Coe says the new portraits “will allow students to look up and see people who look like them. It’s sending a signal to a wider range of students that they belong here.”

The effort is reminiscent of Yale’s decision in February to rename a residential college commemorating John C. Calhoun, a 19th-century white supremacist statesman, after Grace Murray Hopper, a computer science pioneer and a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. At the time, Yale President Peter Salovey said the decision was “the right thing to do on principle,” though he admitted being concerned about “erasing history.”

It may shock Salovey to discover that history’s most influential women are still regularly scrubbed from record. Recall in July when photos of Bill Clinton and other men appeared on the front pages of newspapers heralding Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential nomination.

Our culture still allows women’s most impressive achievements to be easily forgotten—that’s why it’s so important to showcase their faces in hallowed halls and to etch their names in stone.



Leaving LondonInga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, announced that the giant insurance provider will open an EU subsidiary in Brussels by mid-2018 to avoid losing business once the U.K. leaves the EU. Beale said the move would cost Lloyd’s $11.5 million annually, a loss she hopes to make up for by generating new European business opportunities. Her announcement comes a day after J.P. Morgan Chase, Europe’s largest investment bank, told employees that it’s considering Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin as alternatives to post-Brexit London.Wall Street Journal


Ice, ice, baby
If they complete three more competitions, the Nigerian women’s bobsleigh team will qualify for the 2018 Olympics, making them the first squad from Africa to ever enter the Games. They’re currently training in Western Canada, fighting freezing winds, bone-breaking speed, and up to five g-force. “We are from a continent that would never imagine sliding down ice at 80 or 90 miles an hour,” says driver Seun Adigun. “The idea of getting people to take to that is, by itself, empowering.”

Trouble in Turkey
The number of women in the workforce fell dramatically in Turkey, dropping by 40,000 from December 2015 to December 2016, according to the country’s Economic Policy Research Foundation. The number of total registered workers fell in parallel, dropping 1.6% to 13.8 million in December 2016. Turkey is suffering from a period of economic uncertainty fueled by political instability and the threat of terrorism; its unemployment rate is currently 12.7%, the highest in seven years.
Hurriyet Daily News



Dinner for two?
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s rule of refusing to dine alone with a woman who is not his wife has sparked a debate about his ethics, religious beliefs, and treatment of women. Some argue that Pence’s rule, which originally came to light in a 2002 interview he gave to The Hill, is demeaning to women, and they questioned whether he would dine with administration figures like Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway. His defenders say he’s simply being a good husband to his wife, Karen, who was recently profiled in the Washington Post.

Autocorrecting assault
Former VP Joe Biden’s campaign against sexual assault, which he launched in 2014, released a powerful new PSA urging people to think about the words used to describe non-consensual relations. “The correct word for sex without consent is rape. Period,” Biden tweeted alongside the new video, titled “Autocorrect,” which makes real-time edits to a conversation between two men about a recent hook up.

Awkward awareness
Mexico City took an unorthodox approach to combatting sexual violence by installing a “penis seat” on one of the city’s metro cars. The seat is molded into the shape of a male body, with nipples, a belly button, and a protruding penis. A video for the associated campaign shows riders trying to cover up the seat’s unique features before sitting down, while others avoid the seat entirely. “It’s uncomfortable to sit here, but it doesn’t compare with the sexual violence that women suffer in their everyday lives,” an explanatory statement below the seat reads. It reminds subway riders that nine out of ten women in Mexico City have experienced some form of sexual violence.



President to prisoner
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was arrested and jailed today on charges including bribery, extortion and abuse of power. She is being held in a prison outside Seoul, where she will likely remain throughout her trial. People protested against her arrest, momentarily forcing Park’s motorcade to stop on its way to a hearing.
New York Times

Bangkok bribery
Juthamas Siriwan, former governor of Thailand’s Tourist Authority, was sentenced to 50 years in prison at the conclusion of a film festival bribery case that also ensnared Siriwan’s daugher, who was sentenced to 44 years. As financier of the Bangkok Film Festival, Siriwan participated in bribery involving about $1.8 million; the case has been ongoing since 2010. Siriwan and her daughter now have 15 days to present themselves for indictment or risk arrest.

Atypical boy band
China’s hottest boy band, Acrush, may take its name from Adonis, the Greek god of male beauty, but it’s actually a group of five androgynous young women. Chinese talent agents have been discussing forming a unisex group after the wild success of pop star Li Yuchun, who won a nationwide talent show in 2005 and catapulted to fame. Acrush styles itself as “a group advocating freedom, not bounded by frames” and already has a large fan base ahead of the April release of its first music video.

News summaries by Linda Kinstler @lindakinstler


How Marine Le Pen could win

Microsoft PR pioneer Pam Edstrom has died

Kentucky’s last abortion clinic is suing the state to stay open

Astronaut Peggy Whitson sets a record for most spacewalks by a woman
Chicago Tribune

‘I shouldn’t have’: At 60, Vanna White reflects on her 1987 Playboy cover that inspired two lawsuits
Washington Post



“I think we too often suffer from the tyranny of low expectations.”
--Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on why women haven't made major leadership gains in government or industry over the past four years.