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The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 26

On her visit to Berlin yesterday, First Daughter Ivanka Trump appeared alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss women’s entrepreneurship.

At one point, Trump expressed interest in the equal pay legislation recently passed by Germany.

“I know that Chancellor Merkel, just this past March you passed an equal pay legislation to promote transparency and to try to finally narrow that gender pay gap,” she said. “And that’s something we should all be looking at—to see the efficacy of that policy as it gets rolled out.”

The policy that piqued Trump’s interest was passed by Germany’s Cabinet in January. It aims to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for doing equivalent work. It requires companies with 200 or more employees to provide workers with information about the salaries of their peers and to document any pay gap. Employers with at least 500 employees are encouraged—but not legally obligated—to report regularly on their equal pay efforts.

Manuela Schwesig, Germany’s minister for women and families, said it’s meant to ensure that “wage determination is no longer a black box.” She said employees can sue if the company can’t demonstrate their pay is fair.

The U.S. has its own equal pay legislative proposals from both sides of the aisle. In February, Sen. Deb Fischer (R–Neb.) reintroduced her Workplace Advancement Act that would make it illegal for women to be fired for sharing or asking about salary information in the workplace. And in April, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D–Conn.) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure to strengthen the provisions of the 1963 Equal Pay Act.

Fischer attended a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in February where Ivanka Trump spoke with a small group of female lawmakers about her paid leave and child care tax proposal. Fischer has said she’s “thrilled” to work on such issues with Ivanka Trump.

But neither the first daughter nor the White House has voiced public support for Fischer’s bill—or DeLauro’s, for that matter. The administration did, however, send this signal: Last month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking an Obama-era order that required federal contractors to disclose their pay scales and salaries. It had been one of the few ways the government could ensure companies were paying men and women equally.

—@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Don’t call it a comebackVictoria Azarenka, the former No. 1 in the world, is returning to the professional tennis circuit with a new traveling companion, her son Leo, born in December. The Belarus native, who’s scheduling training around breastfeeding, resists calling it a comeback since she wasn’t sidelined by injury, illness, burnout, or misfortune. “I’ll do it for me, because I want to achieve my full potential, but it’s not anymore just for me,” she says. “I want to have my son be proud of me.”New York Times

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Popular probe
Esperanza Aguirre, the former regional president of Madrid and leader of the Popular Party in the city’s parliament, resigned on Monday as a result of an ongoing corruption scandal that has implicated over 160 Spanish political and business leaders. While Aguirre is not implicated in the corruption probe, she was forced to leave her post after admitting that she did not properly supervise her successor as regional president, Ignacio Gonzalez, who was recently arrested for allegedly misusing public funds.
Financial Times
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Power of the pulpit
Egypt is turning to female religious teachers to help combat extremism through a state-led campaign. Some 140 women have agreed to join the initiative to win hearts and minds, and the Ministry for Religious Endowments hopes to license 2,000 new women preachers by the end of the year. “We wanted to move beyond the idea of traditional sheikhs or that we are unapproachable scholars; rather we are at your service, to teach you,” says Nour al-Hoda al-Gammal, who began preaching last year.
Sydney Morning Herald

 

THE AMERICAS

Marissa’s millions
If Yahoo shareholders approve the company’s sale to Verizon at their meeting in June—as is largely expected—it will signal the end of CEO Marissa Mayer’s five-year effort to restore the Internet pioneer to greatness. But she won’t be leaving empty-handed. Her Yahoo stock, stock options, and restricted stock units are worth a total of $186 million. When her salary, bonuses, and the value of the stock she’s already sold are taken into account, her time at Yahoo will have netted her well over $200 million.
New York Times
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Patchwork paid leave
A coalition of over 380 major U.S. companies has published a proposal asking Congress to help big business dodge expanded paid leave policies at the state and local level. The HR Policy Association—whose members represent companies like Oracle, IBM, Wendy’s, and GE—asked Congress to establish a national threshold for paid leave and to protect companies from having to go above that level in order to meet state and local requirements.
Bloomberg
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Trump’s report card
In his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump has signed 30 executive orders and worked with Congress to enact 28 laws, yet he has done little to help women. The administration has yet to take action on issues like equal pay, family leave, and child care. When it comes to women’s health and preventing violence against women, Trump has pursued policies that cut funding to critical services, and is reportedly considering closing the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.
Fortune
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Get in formation
Beyoncé announced the launch of her “Formation Scholars” program for women at select American universities. The awards aim to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, conscious and confident,” and will be given to one student studying creative arts, music, literature, or African American studies at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College beginning next academic year.
Rolling Stone

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Worth repeating
Scores of Chinese girls are named after an unsung Taiwanese writer known as Echo who defied societal expectations to travel and report from around the world from the 1970s until her death by suicide in 1991. Echo, the English name taken by author San Mao, wrote 20 books over the course of her journeys across Europe and Africa, and will be translated into English for the first time in 2018. As Echo Huang writes for Quartz, “San Mao is the opposite of everything that Chinese parents teach their daughters to be—obedient, stable, and never staying far from your family. She crossed the oceans for love, lived in a colonized, turmoil-filled land, and wrote of all those experiences.”
Quartz
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Tour of her own
A few small travel companies in India are subtly challenging cultural understandings of women’s place in the public sphere by hiring women to serve as tour guides. The high incidence of rape in the country makes it dangerous for young women to explore cities and travel on their own, so leading excursions of foreigners is a safer and more profitable alternative.
Newsweek
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News summaries by Linda Kinstler @lindakinstler

IN BRIEF

Samantha Power announces memoir about her time as UN ambassador
Fortune

An ad woman at the top of an industry that she thinks still has far to go
New York Times

Maiden voyage set to inspire a new generation of girls
Times of London

What it’s like to have Tina Fey as a mentor
New York Magazine

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates will testify before Congress in Russia probe
Fortune

PARTING WORDS

“‘Honey,’ he told me, ‘in this business you’ve always got to get there the firstest with the mostest and the newest.’”
--Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 on Tuesday, on the only advice she ever needed.