Our next opener of another week of impressive women is a role model in many domains: Christine Lagarde.
Lagarde is at this moment the President of the European Central Bank and with this one of the most influential people in the financial world of Europe. The way that led her to this position is marked by several accomplishments. It is paved with many firsts for women which makes her surely someone to look up to! She has been celebrated for this many times for example with the title as best European finance minister by the Financial Times in 2009.
Read more about this astonishing woman in the field of finances and politics in the article below!
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde | * 01-01-1956 | France | Politician, Businesswoman, Lawyer
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde (born on 1January 1956 in Paris) is a French politician, business woman and lawyer. Since November 1st 2019, she has been President of the European Central Bank, making the Euro and financial policies in the Eurozone her main responsibility. Prior to that she was the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an office she had been appointed to in 2011, when the financial crisis was peaking. This situation is a typical example for the famous ‘glass cliff’– basically when a situation seems pretty bad, the job to fix and handle it is given to a woman – as discussed in her 2019 interview during “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah. However, she managed this challenge well.
Her political career in France goes back much further as she held numerous influential positions as a cabinet minister before the positions named before. For instance, between 2005 and 2011, Lagarde was Minister of Commerce, Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry of the French Government. Her accomplishments have been widely recognized and celebrated. This is illustrated, for example, by the fact that she was ranked as the best European finance minister by the Financial Times in 2009. She was especially praised for her abilities as a crisis manager. Forbes also ranked her on their “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list several times.
Lagarde is leading an immensely impressive career, while also being a mother of two, including many ‘firsts’, such as being the first woman to head the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as being the first female Finance Minister of a G8 country. This makes her a feminist icon and certainly a role model for those who wish to follow her footsteps. And there is more.
She sees climate change as an important issue that needs to be tackled and therefore puts it on the ECB’s agenda, underscoring her ability to think long-term and see the overall picture of a situation. Before holding offices in politics, Lagarde was also the first woman to chair Baker and McKenzie, a powerful global law firm. She is being referred to as a “rock star” of international finance, being known for her stamina, determination and drive. At the same time she is said to have the capability to “impose calm without posing a morally superior” (BBC) by bringing humanity back into situations.
Lagarde was brought up by a single mother, who was very strong and was a role model throughout Lagarde’s life after her father passed away when she was only 17 years old. Lagarde’s parents were both teachers. After finishing high school in France, she went to the United States to attend the private Holton-Arms School. She also did an internship at the office of Rep. William Cohen in the US capitol, where her French was of use in answering the post the congressman received from his French Canadian constituents. After returning to France, she got a Master’s degree in English, labour law and social law.
In a domain that is still very much a man’s world, such as politics and especially international finance, Christine Lagarde has achieved truly amazing things that the next generations of female politicians, ministers and bankers will be able to build upon.
Author: Gina Kouter
Image: Gabor Kovacs