Christine Lagarde the French Minister for Economic affairs,and the only woman to ever hold the position is among the leading candidates touted to head the International Monetary Fund.This follows the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing alleged sexual assault charges.
The Monetary body is 60 years old(read history here) with a membership of 187 countries and among its many roles is to provide policy advice and financing to members facing economic difficulties.It also assists developing countries to maintain macro economic stability as well as reduce poverty levels.
The lawyer who is a former member of the national French synchronized swimming team,was in 2009 was ranked among the 17th most influential women in the world by Forbes.Ms Lagarde believes more women are needed in high places because men if left on their own make a mess of things.The UK guardian newspaper in February of this year had an interesting article about the 55 year old and you can read it here.
He advocacy for a stronger work ethic among her country men and women who have a 35 hour week have touched a raw nerve.But this is probably informed by her work experience in the US where after joining the firm at 25 in 1981 ,she rose through the ranks to chair the Brian McKenzie law firm in Chicago in 1999.She is famous for saying that the France “must stop thinking, stop dithering and simply roll up its sleeves.”She received a lot of criticism for the statement but this strong work ethic saw her nominated as one of the best performing European Finance Ministers in the European Union.
If she gets elected for the top job at the IMF,for which she has a lot of European support it will be interesting to see how she leads this 60 year old institution.More interestingly will be her approach in tackling the current economic crisis being felt the world over especially among member countries and her policy towards the developing countries.
All the best Madame Lagarde!
NB:An updated post is available here