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The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 27

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that he is banning transgender Americans from serving in the military in “any capacity,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” they’d impose. The directive triggered a wave of outrage and confusion, since there are already thousands of transgender troops serving in the armed forces (and their health care costs are thought to be minimal). The president didn’t specify what would happen to existing service men and women.

What is clear is that the president is targeting a group of Americans that is twice as likely as the general population to lend themselves to the armed services. As Fortune‘s Sy Mukherjee reports, UCLA researchers found in 2015 that 21% of all transgender U.S. adults have served in the military, compared to 10% of the overall American population. Thirty-two percent of transgender people assigned as male at birth have served (versus 20% of men in the broader population) and 5.5% of those assigned female at birth have served (versus 1.7% of women overall).

Researchers have posed several theories for why this is the case. Some transgender troops have cited a desire to reaffirm their masculinity by enlisting. But transgender Americans’ lack of socioeconomic opportunity—up to 64% report incomes lower than $25,000—and exclusion from traditional workplaces may also be factors. And, of course, some people simply want to serve.

@clairezillman

 

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Keeping the door openIn an op-ed today, U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised not to close the door on European workers after Brexit, saying she shared companies’ desire “to continue to welcome those who help make the U.K. such a prosperous place to live.” The statement represents a softening of the government’s tone on the issue and breaks Rudd’s silence on the future of immigration; she says employers will have up to three years to adjust their recruitment practices after Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.Financial Times

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Picture this
A new exhibit by photographer Amelia Troubridge challenges the notion of what a woman at work looks like. While image libraries are adding more photos of female business executives, not every professional woman wears an expensive suit and wields an iPhone. Her show at the Getty Images Gallery in London features 12 female entrepreneurs as they are at work. One of them, Carmen Hijosa, has invented a new leather substitute—Piñatex—made from the fibers in pineapple leaves. She’s pictured sitting on her desk chair-exercise ball.
Financial Times

THE AMERICAS

She did it her way
Barbara Sinatra, the widow of singing legend Frank Sinatra, died on Tuesday at age 90. Here’s the story of how growing up poor fueled her philanthropic drive even after she achieved fame and fortune.
Washington Post
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Drama mill
A real-life telenovela is playing out in Mexico over control of the fortune belonging to the late tortilla baron Roberto Gonzalez Barrera. It’s pitting Gonzalez’s wife of half a century, Graciela Moreno Hernandez, against Lorena Tassinari, a singer and actress who says she married Gonzalez aboard a yacht prior to his death and claims the right to a piece of the $2.4 billion he left behind. So far, courts have sided with Hernandez, but earlier this month, Tassinari filed an appeal that might be her last chance at securing the riches. 
Bloomberg
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Call the midwives
The Washington Post has a photo essay of the work of Midwives for Haiti, a program that’s training skilled birth attendants in an effort to reduce Haiti’s infant mortality rate, which is the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Washington Post

ASIA-PACIFIC

On patrol
The Indian city of Jaipur is one of the latest to get an all-female police force tasked with reining in sexual violence. The nation records nearly 40,000 rapes each year, but it’s thought that many more go unreported. The hope is that women will feel more comfortable lodging complaints to female officers than to their male counterparts.
BBC
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Sew much better
In 2013, researchers implemented an experiment in five Bangalore factories to measure how basic skills training—communication, time management, decision making, problem solving, and financial literacy—impacted the retention, productivity, and salary of female garment workers. They found that women who got the training—compared to those who didn’t—were more productive by seven percentage points and displayed improved sewing ability. Their retention was three percentage points higher and they showed higher self-regard and sociability—all proof, the researchers say, that employers have an incentive to invest in workers rather than solely focusing on keeping costs low. 
Harvard Business Review

IN BRIEF

When Jessica Williams met J.K. Rowling
Bustle

We need to talk about period poverty in the U.K.
Refinery 29

Japan’s ‘vagina artist’ is back and raising the alarm on prison conditions
Quartz

U.S. women are paying more attention to politics since Trump’s election
The Cut

PARTING WORDS

“[Women] are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
—Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, encouraging women to own their scars.