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The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 21

The funding disparity between female founders and their male counterparts is blatant—so much so that U.S. first daughter Ivanka Trump has made fixing the gap a pillar of her women’s empowerment agenda.

“Among women who have started businesses, only 10% have access to the capital they need to grow them,” she wrote in an op-ed in April that called for an increase in female funding.

Indeed, in March, Fortune‘s analysis of PitchBook data found that women received $1.46 billion in venture capital money in the past year, while companies with all-male founders collected $58.2 billion. Rather than improving, the problem is getting worse.

But there is one area outside established funding mechanisms where women are outpacing men: crowdfunding platforms.

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Crowdfunding Center found that globally in 2015 and 2016 women-led crowdfunding campaigns were 32% more successful than male-led efforts in hitting their funding targets.

The report’s analysis focuses on 450,000 seed crowdfunding campaigns, which let backers pay upfront for products or services they’ll receive later. It is the most prevalent type of crowdfunding and one that’s ballooned in recent years, with the amount of money raised skyrocketing from $10 million globally in 2009 to over $767 million (through just nine of the biggest global platforms alone) in 2016.

The study shows that men launch more crowdfunding campaigns, yet women reach their funding goals 22% of the time, compared to men’s 17% success rate. The trend holds true across geographies to varying degrees.

It’s even true in traditionally male-dominated industries. Women who launched tech-oriented crowdfunding campaigns hit their fundraising mark at a rate of 13%; for men, it’s 10%.

Female-led projects also achieve a greater average pledge amount from each individual backer: $87 versus $83 for male-led campaigns. The study says investors are attracted to the emotional and inclusive language women tend to use in their pitches rather than the business language men usually favor.

In addition to quantifying women’s knack for crowdfunding, the research offers meaningful commentary on the current state of traditional funding methods. The global market that crowdfunding campaigns solicit serves as a kind of control group and shows how a gender-balanced audience—rather than the male-dominated VC world—receives female founders. In a word: enthusiastically.

The research also undermines some of the rationales—other than bias—offered up to explain why female entrepreneurs receive less than male entrepreneurs through traditional funding channels; that fewer women are interested in entrepreneurship or that they’re worse at it than men. The new report shows that the global consumer base has recognized—far sooner than VCs—that female entrepreneurs are just as capable as men—and sometimes, even more so.

@clairezillman

 

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Calendar girlsThe Pirelli calendar, which started five decades ago as a yearly collectible published by an Italian tire company, has morphed into an annual barometer of cultural awareness. In 2016, it featured women of all sizes—including a nude Amy Schumer—and the 2017 edition showcased older Hollywood stars. For 2018, the Alice in Wonderland-themed calendar has an all-black cast, including Naomi Campbell, RuPaul, and Whoopi Goldberg.Vogue

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Keep in touch
Canada’s Governor General David Johnston—soon to be replaced by Julie Payette—committed a blatant breach of protocol by touching Queen Elizabeth as she attended a celebration for the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation earlier this week. As she was leaving, Johnston grabbed her elbow in an attempt, he said later, to support her on slippery stairs. Physical contact with the monarch is a serious no-no, but Johnston isn’t the first to commit the faux pas. In 2009, then First Lady Michelle Obama hugged the queen in what Buckingham Palace later downplayed as “[a] mutual and spontaneous display of affection and appreciation.”
CNN

 

THE AMERICAS

A succession side-step
Longtime PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has filled the role of company president, which has been vacant for three years. Ramon Laguarta, currently head of the company’s Europe and sub-Saharan Africa business, will take on the No. 2 job, but Nooyi dismissed the notion that he’s being anointed her heir apparent.
Wall Street Journal
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Public perception
If you think going public makes companies prioritize diversity—think again. New analysis of the 75 largest IPOs from 2014 to 2016, found that three-fourths of companies went public with one or no women on their boards. Nearly half of the companies (49%) went public with no female directors at all.
Fortune
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“This is holy ground”
A group of Catholic nuns has deployed an unorthodox strategy to keep a natural gas pipeline from being constructed on a rural parcel of land in Pennsylvania: they’re building an outdoor chapel on it. They’re members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, whose 2,000 nuns around the world have made environmental protection and activism a key part of their mission. By constructing the chapel, the nuns hope to enjoin the pipeline on the grounds of religious freedom. 
Washington Post

ASIA-PACIFIC

Fluency fake out?
In an interview with the New York Times, U.S. President Donald Trump talked about sitting next to Japanese First Lady Akie Abe at a G20 summit dinner earlier this month where he had a second, previously undisclosed talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In passing, Trump said Abe “doesn’t speak English. Like, not ‘hello.’” But videos of Abe online show that she can at least read English well, prompting some to speculate she pretended to not know English to avoid talking to the U.S. president. Others, meanwhile, say her fluency level is unknown and she likely didn’t want to misspeak. 
Washington Post
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Wrap star
On the latest episode of NPR’s How I Built This podcast, Australia’s Raegan Moya-Jones explains how she built her muslin baby blanket startup Adien + Anais into a $100 million business, with a little help from the British royal family.
NPR
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Too far along
A court in India has denied a 10-year-old pregnant girl’s request for an abortion after she was allegedly impregnated in a rape by her uncle. The judges ruled that at 30 weeks, her pregnancy is too far along to be terminated. Indian law bans abortion beyond 20 weeks. Advocates want that cut-off extended to 24. Women’s reproductive rights are an especially prominent issue in India where an estimated 95 women are raped every day. 
CBS News

IN BRIEF

Chinese agents bar access to the ‘free’ wife of Liu Xiaobo
Guardian

England women’s football team is going for gold
Refinery 29

Is there any right way to react to the burqini?
Atlantic

Meet Tiffany Beers, the mad scientist behind Nike’s ‘Back to the Future’ sneaker
New York Times

PARTING WORDS

“In a world where women are continually and unwantedly sexualized, this new rule serves as yet another reason for women to feel ashamed of their bodies, and a reminder that to be respected, they must alter their behavior because of outside perception.”
—Professional golfer Paige Spiranac on the LPGA's new dress code that bans low-cut tops and leggings unless they're under shorts or a skirt.