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The Most Powerful Women International 2019: raceAhead

September 24, 2019, 6:09 PM UTC

The Most Powerful Women International list went live today, highlighting extraordinary women who are leading the way in companies that are based outside the U.S. 

This year’s list finds women from 19 countries and every continent but Antarctica, says my colleague Claire Zillman. (I suggest we get on that.)

There are some familiar names here—the top spot goes to Ana Botín, who oversees Banco Santander, the $90.5 billion mega-bank. 

But a third of the list are newcomers, including Ping An’s Jessica Tan, Solvay’s Ilham Kadri, Petrobas CFO Andrea Marques de Almeida, and Uniqlo Japan CEO Maki Akaida. 

I find it to be a welcome sign that executive women are making real strides in the talent pipeline.

But while there are many reasons to celebrate the women who are finding their way into positions of power around the globe, many of whom are working in traditionally male-dominated industries, it’s worth noting how far we still need to go. 

And, I was joking about Antarctica—let’s dominate Africa first.

Enjoy. Oh, and please make sure you’ve subscribed to Broadsheet, Fortune’s daily dispatch on powerful women, inclusion, and allyship. All genders welcome and needed. 

Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com
@ellmcgirt

On Point

This profile of the U.S. women’s national soccer team will set you right today Victory in sport is a timeless thrill, but after the U.S. team won their second World Cup in a row last July, the roar from the crowd was different than usual. "It wasn’t until the players rode their victory float through New York City a few days later that they heard the same chant and understood what the crowds were yelling: 'Equal pay! Equal pay!'" reports Fortune’s Jen Wieczner. "I actually cried," striker Christen Press says. "I was so taken aback." This is only part of the reason the women’s team took the honorary 51st spot on the Most Powerful Women list: Their win was poised to be a win for gender and pay equity. "This time around, we just understood so much more that we’re a part of this greater movement," says Megan Rapinoe, the team’s co-captain and forward.
Fortune

Nearly half of Harvard’s white students are legacies, jocks, children of faculty New analysis led by Duke University economist Peter Arcidiacono finds that some 43% of white admits to Harvard are ALDC: athletes, legacies, of interest to the dean, or children of faculty. It’s a tough blow to the meritocracy crowd. "Removing preferences for athletes and legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged," they find. The paper is based on data revealed during the course of a controversial lawsuit that accused the university of discriminating against Asian students, in favor of other "minority" cohorts. While faculty kids are small, the wealthy kids of alumni and those whose parents might donate money and are shepherded in by the dean make the largest slice. Insert Jared Kushner jokes here.
Slate

Brookings Institute changes their style guide The non-profit public policy organization is making a change to what they term is a "long-overdue policy." "Brookings has modernized our writing style guide to capitalize Black when used to reference census-defined black or African American people," a change which was recently announced by their president. This move came after interviewing experts in race and culture, and in consulting their own diversity committee. The move is part of an effort to ensure that nobody is erased in the course of doing their work, and their rationale is well worth your time. To quote the New York Times, who had finally agreed to capitalize the once-preferable word "negro" in 1930, they said, "[i]t is not merely a typographical change, it is an act in recognition of racial respect for those who have been generations in the ‘lower case.'"
Brookings Institute

On Background

The unanswered questions in anti-semitism Judith Butler reviews Bari Weiss’s new book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism, with respect and care; the controversial author and opinion writer has long divided her audience by rejecting the notion that one can be both against anti-semitism and offer legitimate critiques of Israel. I flag this review not only for people who want to stay up to date on these tensions on how they play out in modern discourse—last year’s horrific attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was the catalyst for the book—but also because the essay does double duty as a primer on key terms like anti-semitism and intersectionality. "She takes 'intersectionality' to be a framework that reverses conventional hierarchies, endowing the most oppressed groups with special access to truth, authority, and judgment, and silencing those identified with dominant forms of power," says Butler. "And yet she does not deeply engage the positions of thinkers like Patricia Hill Collins and Kimberlé Crenshaw who launched the development of intersectional theory—and whose work explicitly opposes the notion of a hierarchy of oppressions."
Jewish Currents

What is intersectionality, again? It’s worth taking a few minutes to enjoy lawyer, author, and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw’s engaging TED Talk that explains in greater detail how we miss the deep complexity of true bias. "Many years ago, I began to use the term ‘intersectionality’ to deal with the fact that many of our social justice problems like racism and sexism are often overlapping, creating multiple levels of social injustice." It means that issues facing certain populations, which she movingly demonstrates in the first 90 seconds of her talk, become invisible to us. Multiple identities—say Black, female, disabled, queer, as examples—often mean that the law and society lack the frames necessary to understand how bias impacts your path. "So what do you call being impacted by multiple forces and then abandoned to fend for yourself? Intersectionality seemed to do it for me."
TED

'America Never Deserved Puerto Rico' This piece was published in the aftermath of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, a painful sidebar to the failure of the mainland to provide true aid and comfort. GQ’s Josh Rivera offers a poignant perspective on what it’s like to be a second-generation Nuyorican, a little too "gringo" to blend in when he went back to the island of family lore, a little too brown to be accepted here in "los Estados." The tension is deeply personal. "This is a nation where people are enraged at the very sound of a language that isn't English, where even the temerity to even look like you might utter a word of Spanish in a white person’s presence makes you a target. It does not matter if you are a citizen or not," he says. At the time it was published, Rivera still hadn’t heard from his abuelos, tios, or primos.
GQ

 

Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.

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Quote

"My big, I don’t know, 'message' right now is that every person has a responsibility to be a participant in this society and make it a better place for everybody, in whatever capacity they can. And I’m just trying to do the best that I can to inspire people to feel confident that they have the ability to be an active participant in this country, in their community, in their family. And having hard conversations is the only way we can start to move forward."

—Megan Rapinoe, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine