Women are playing a growing role in leading the global economy

April 7, 2021, 12:58 PM UTC
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the Oval Office.
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Company benefits favor IVF over adoption, Canva doubles its valuation, and women are gaining a greater hold on global economic leadership. Have a fantastic Wednesday.

– Don’t call them money honeys. Janet Yellen has had a big couple days in the headlines, making an attention-grabbing speech Monday (she called for a called for a global minimum corporate tax rate and made a series of pointed reversals from Trump-era policy) and setting herself up as the one to watch at this week’s IMF and World Bank meetings.

This Reuters story takes note of Yellen’s rise to economic power—and points out that she’s not alone. Here in the U.S., women now hold many of the most important jobs overseeing the U.S. economy. And looking globally, reports Reuters: “There’s Christine Lagarde at the helm of the European Central Bank with its 2.4 trillion euro balance sheet, Kristalina Georgieva at the International Monetary Fund with its $1 trillion in lending power, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the World Trade Organization—all jobs held by men a decade ago.”

While generalizing about the differences between men and women is a risky business, it seems fair to conclude that having women in these roles will at the very least bring fresh thinking and a new perspective. When asked how Yellen’s approach differs from that of her male predecessors, Eric LeCompte, a UN adviser and executive director of a non-profit that advocates for debt relief, told Reuters: “I’ve been meeting with Treasury secretaries for 20 years, and their talking points have been entirely different. In every area we discussed, Yellen put an emphasis on empathy, and the impact of policies on vulnerable communities.” He added: previous Treasury Secretaries had been about “numbers not people,” and never used terms like “vulnerable.”


This morning, Fortune published a new interview with a woman wielding significant global economic clout, though of a rather different stripe than that of Yellen and co.: Margrethe Vestager, EVP of the European Commission and Europe’s top antitrust enforcer.

I had the pleasure of editing this in-depth Q+A between Vestager and Fortune’s David Meyer, and I can assure that if you’re curious about the future of Big Tech regulation, how global regulators might crack down on corporate tax dodgers, and the EU’s plans to develop its own cutting-edge technologies, their conversation is worth your time.

Of course, one of my favorite parts of any Q+A is where the subject gets a little personal, so I was particularly struck by Vestager’s response to David’s question about what she might do next:

“I know you don’t believe that kind of stuff, but I have not thought about it for a second,” she said. “First, because we are crazy busy right now fighting COVID and shaping the future, but second because in my experience if your next job is going to be a good one, then better stay focused to do a good job in what you do now. The minute you lose focus because you’re thinking two, three, four years ahead, then you also lose your touch, and then people think, ‘Why would she be relevant for anything in the future if she is not in the job that she has right now?'”

Words to live by.

Kristen Bellstrom

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Design forward. Canva, the Australian design startup founded by CEO Melanie Perkins, has more than doubled its valuation to $15 billion, reports Fortune's Robert Hackett. The company raised $71 million, and Perkins shared her investor pitch deck with FortuneFortune

- Public input. The Biden White House is planning an overhaul of Title IX, but first it's seeking the public's input. Students, educators, and other stakeholders will be able to weigh in at a public hearing on sexual harassment and gender discrimination in schools. New York Times

- Pay up. In the latest issue of Fortune, Phil Wahba reports on the growing trend among big business to link executives' pay to diversity metrics. Tying CEO compensation to diversity results can be one of the most effective ways to make progress, he finds. Fortune

- Family-friendly? As companies expand family benefits, many are favoring subsidizing fertility treatments like IVF over paying adoption costs. The gap is leaving out many same-sex couples as well as women who do not want to undergo fertility procedures. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Edelman promoted U.S. COO Lisa Osborne Ross to U.S. CEO. Great Hill Partners named former HP Inc. CHRO Tracy Keogh chief people officer and growth partner. Ocean Spray named Danone's Monisha Dabek chief commercial officer, USA and Terminix's Sarah Evans chief human resources officer. Operator Collective, the organization that supports diverse operators in Silicon Valley, created a board of advisers consisting of Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana; Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson; former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot; and Confluent president of field operations Erica Schultz. Amplitude hired former Western Digital VP of HR Julie Currie as chief people officer and former Postmates deputy general counsel Elizabeth Fisher as general counsel. LivePerson hired Microsoft's Monica Pool Knox as chief people officer and IBM's Amber Armstrong as CMO. Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, named former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell a senior adviser. 


- Viewership matchup. The results are in from the recent NCAA tournaments—and viewership of men's college basketball was down 14% while ratings for the women's game grew. The men's championship drew 16.9 million viewers, down from 2019; the women's final attracted 4 million, the most since 2014. CNBC

- Billionaire watch. The latest Forbes billionaire report has two interesting pieces; first, the publication analyzes how MacKenzie Scott has earned more through Amazon's pandemic stock tear than the $6 billion she's given away in that time. And second, Kim Kardashian is officially a billionaire thanks to her shapewear brand Skims (no, she wasn't already). 

- Problem-solving in biotech. A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists are aiming to solve the "missing women" problem in biotech. In a new report, they find that male MIT faculty found companies at a higher rate than female companies, and the Future Founders Initiative is aiming to close that gap. Boston Globe


Caitlyn Jenner explores run for California governor Axios

I called off my wedding. The internet will never forget Wired

Harry and Meghan announce Netflix show about Invictus Games Guardian

Chelsea Clinton launches a podcast AP


"I can't bring my heart into it if it's not of interest to me. I can't just do it for the check."

-Actor and director Regina King

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