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The Women at the Center of Brexit and Canada’s Election: The Broadsheet

October 18, 2019, 12:04 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Canva is now one of the most valuable female-founded tech startups in the world, the all-female spacewalk is scheduled for today, and women will make crucial decisions in Brexit and Canada’s election. Have a wonderful weekend—and we’ll see you next week from the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. 


- Global politics. Before we head into the weekend, let's unpack three of the biggest stories in global politics—with women at the center. 

First, the U.K. The country and the European Union came to a Brexit deal that will go before the U.K. Parliament on Saturday. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling on British lawmakers to back the agreement, it will likely hit some roadblocks. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson says the deal is "even worse for our economy than Theresa May's," but liberal opposition isn't Johnson's only problem. A group of lawmakers led by Democratic Unionist Party head Arlene Foster object to the deal not because they don't want to leave the European Union, but because of how the agreement will treat Northern Ireland; read more details from the British politics experts here.

The Democratic Unionist Party is known for conservative stances on social issues, so Swinson and her liberal peers likely won't praise the group if they end up forestalling Brexit. But Foster and the DUP are now key players in what ends up happening this weekend. 

In Canada, meanwhile, an election is coming up on Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is neck and neck in the polls with his opponent after a series of controversies, including the discovery of multiple instances in which the prime minister wore blackface. His problems, however, really started with the SNC-Lavalin scandal last year; Trudeau allegedly demoted Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould after she declined to ease up on prosecuting the company when Trudeau asked her to (he cited the company's jobs in Canada). 

Now Wilson-Raybould—known as "JWR," or a "Canadian AOC"—is running for MP in her Vancouver district as an independent. If she wins, that's the loss of a seat for Trudeau's Liberal Party. The indigenous leader is "Trudeau's worst nightmare," Slate reports.

And in the United States, of course, President Trump was tweeting out a photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and calling her "unhinged" as she stands up in a room full of men. Read this rundown from Vox arguing how Trump's tweet shows his problem with powerful women. 

Johnson, Trudeau, and Trump are technically the world leaders—but it's the women who in large part control their countries' fates right now. Stay tuned. 

Next week the Broadsheet will be coming to you from the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. We'll bring you a preview on Monday morning—and you'll be able to watch all the highlights here when the Summit kicks off Monday afternoon.

Emma Hinchliffe


- Recruitment tactics. Why aren't women applying to some companies? Recruitment presentations that don't feature women, do feature women but in "seductive poses," or are led by men in technical roles and women in roles like greeting people at the door all made women less likely to apply to jobs, researchers found. Harvard Business Review 

- Can-valuation. The Australian startup Canva is now valued at $3.2 billion after raising $85 million in a round led by Mary Meeker's firm Bond Capital. The round makes Canva, co-founded by CEO Melanie Perkins, "one of the most valuable female-led technology startups in the world." Bloomberg

- Future of finance. After the Ken Fisher comments last week, Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck writes for Fortune about why women don't feel welcome in the financial services industry—and how to fix it. Women are "tired of doing business with the people and companies that make us squirm in embarrassment at a conference," she writes. Fortune

- Walk the walk. The all-female spacewalk, famously canceled after NASA didn't have enough spacesuits to fit the women, is back on and scheduled for today. Stay tuned to see astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir float outside the International Space StationCBS News

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rep. Carolyn Maloney is now acting chair of House Oversight and Reform Committee after the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings. Impossible Foods hired Google's Jessie Becker as SVP of marketing. 


- First partners. Of the candidate spouses on the 2020 campaign trail, we haven't heard too much from Erica Castro, wife of Julián. Erica works in education—she weighs in on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's policies in this Bustle profile—but says she didn't get involved in politics until she met her husband. There's also a Washington Post profile of actor Rosario Dawson and her relationship with candidate Cory Booker—"a case of opposite Democrats attract."

- Deal details. More details are out about the tentative deal between GM, led by Mary Barra, and the United Autoworkers union to end the workers' strike. Of four plants slated for closure, one will instead be repurposed to build an all-electric pickup. Most union members would get an $11,000 "ratification bonus." CNBC

- Royal pardon. Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni was sentenced to a year in prison for an abortion (which she denied having). King Mohammed VI pardoned Raissouni this week; critics had said the sentence was politically motivated, targeting a journalist. New York Times

- Wen's Time. Former Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen addressed a recent controversy in which she agreed that abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare;" the phrase has fallen out of favor with abortion rights activists for stigmatizing the procedure. "I’m deeply disturbed by how healthcare has become so politicized," Wen said at the Time 100 Health Summit. Time 

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"He believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem."

-Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman and widow of Rep. Elijah Cummings. The Maryland representative died at 68 yesterday.