European Central Bank chief says she’s been surrounded by men for her entire career: ‘It’s something that is always disappointing’

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Christine Lagarde said being one of just two women in the European Central Bank’s 26-member Governing Council is something she’s used to, while highlighting that a more balanced group would produce better results.

“I was a woman in many circles of men,” the ECB’s first female president told Finnish TV during a non-monetary-policy meeting this week in the Nordic country. 

“When I was a lawyer, I was surrounded by men. When I was chairman of Baker McKenzie, my board was male dominated. When I became finance minister, I was surrounded by men. When I joined the IMF, I was surrounded by men — so it’s not something that is new for me, but it’s something that is always disappointing. Because we do a much better job when we are better represented — both genders: male and female.”

Lagarde’s 2019 appointment to lead the ECB was a landmark event in improving gender diversity in economic policymaking, though she remains in the minority — both in her own institution and internationally. The Frenchwoman has made no secret of her push for diversity at the Frankfurt-based central bank.  

“In all the positions that I’ve had — and I want to continue to do that — I want to make sure that women get promoted, that they get a chance and if they have the talent and if they want it, they are given a chance,” she said. “But it is tough.”

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