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The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 14

When President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Paris yesterday, they were greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. In a brief exchange, Trump appears to tell the French first lady: “You’re in such good shape.” Then, turning to Macron, he said, “She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful, isn’t she beautiful?”

(Some saw this as a reference to the Macrons’ age difference; Brigitte is 25 years older than Emmanuel. That is—notably—nearly identical to the age gap between Trump and his wife.)

Either way, the video of Trump’s remarks made the rounds, with some online commenters arguing that Trump’s brief comments don’t constitute news. At Fortune, we clearly disagree. Perhaps the aside wouldn’t have been such a big deal had it not fit into a pattern. If Trump hadn’t criticized the facial features of his primary opponent Carly Fiorina; if he hadn’t said he “wasn’t impressed” when rival Hillary Clinton walked in front of him at a debate; if he hadn’t tweeted that TV host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face lift” when she visited him at Mar-A-Lago; if he hadn’t singled out an Irish journalist during an Oval Office phone call with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, stating, “She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well.” But Trump has done all that and more.

As women push for things like paid leave, equal pay, adequate and affordable healthcare, and better representation in corporate and political leadership—and even as the Trump administration voices support for some of these causes—it’s hard to ignore that the president, publicly, time and again, reduces women to their physical looks.



Putting it in writingU.K. PM Theresa May published the landmark Brexit bill yesterday that ends the supremacy of the EU in Britain. The bill is essentially a formality that replaces EU laws with U.K. legislation, but the FT reports it “will become a legislative quagmire when MPs start debating it in the autumn.” The Labour party says it will oppose the legislation unless it meets six tests, including the inclusion of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights in British law. May’s government, meanwhile, opposes such a move.Financial Times


Just plane wrong
In a speech last week, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker put down U.S. airlines as “crap” and said their passengers are “always being served by grandmothers.” He then boasted that “the average age of my cabin crew is only 26.” His comments were—rather accurately—described as sexist and ageist. Al Baker later apologized saying his remarks were “careless” and didn’t reflect his “true sentiments about cabin crew.”

Put it on ice
The latest episode of ESPN’s 30-for-30 podcast features the fascinating story of how a team of amateur British explorers—including the mother of toddler triplets—formed the first all-women team to trek to the North Pole some 20 years ago, coming face-to-face with life on the ice.
30 for 30


In the Queen’s orbit
Former astronaut Julie Payette will be Canada’s next governor general, a role that will see her carry out Queen Elizabeth’s constitutional and ceremonial duties in the commonwealth. Payette, 53, who speaks six languages, is a computer engineer with a commercial pilot license. In 1992, she was selected from 5,330 applicants as one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency. She flew to the International Space Station twice and served as the agency’s chief astronaut between 2000 and 2007. 

Running scared
This USA Today article features more stories from female startup founders who’ve encountered sexism and unwanted advances as they pitch VCs. It also floats the idea that the recent revelations shedding light on “venture capital’s big money bro-culture behavior” has stoked fear that male financiers will avoid women founders altogether to ensure they are not accused of misconduct.
USA Today

Change of clothes
The Congressional “no sleeveless” dress code story took exactly a week to come full circle. After CBS News first reported that some female reporters were barred from parts of the Capitol for wearing sleeveless dresses, and after Rep. Martha McSally pointed out her “professional attire” of a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes on the House floor on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday that enforcement of the rules could “stand to be a bit modernized,” adding: “We also don’t need to bar otherwise accepted contemporary business attire, so look for a change on that soon.”
The Cut


The power of change
This Washington Post photo essay features the matriarchs of the Mosuo, a Chinese ethnic minority of about 40,000 that lives between the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. The community’s matriarchal structure values female power and decision-making with its most famous tradition—”walking marriage”—giving women the ability to choose and change partners as they wish.
Washington Post

Tone-deaf t-shirts
A Hong-Kong based video production company called BeFast.TV is being called tone-deaf for t-shirts its staff wore to Rise, one of the biggest technology conferences in Asia. The garments featured saying like “I only date startup founders.” CEO Marina Bay said the shirts garnered a “positive response in general” and that the only criticism she heard was from members of the media. 


Why is Hollywood glamorizing binge-drinking for women?
Hollywood Reporter

This app turns Mexican women’s phones into panic buttons

At a luxury high-rise in India, the maids are rioting
Washington Post

The Dutch women’s football team have changed their crest from a lion to a lioness

London Tube staff ditch ‘ladies and gentlemen’ for gender-neutral greetings


“Don’t buy me a drink, I make my money / Don’t touch my weave, don’t call me ‘honey.'”
—Kesha's new feminist anthem 'Woman.'