Leading through crisis: The most powerful woman in global finance

spc leading women christine lagarde_00014606
spc leading women christine lagarde_00014606

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Story highlights

  • Christine Lagarde Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • She is leading the IMF during a period of scandal and global economic crisis
  • Evidence is being gathered to prove the importance of women to the economy
  • Being the first women to lead the IMF brings responsibility but also hope for women to follow in her footsteps

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. This month we're celebrating '"Money Women" with a special series looking at the women who control global finance. We start with an in-depth interview with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Foundation (IMF).

(CNN)"When there is a very difficult situation, women are called in to do the work. To sort out the mess."

Christine Lagarde is the woman who has been tasked to do just that. She has led the IMF since 2011 amidst the organization being in the center of scandal; regarding its former managing director as well as a global economic crisis.
    Lagarde is considered one of the most powerful women in the world - Forbes placed her in 5th position in their 2014 list - as well as a pioneer in her profession.
    She was the first woman to chair the global law firm Baker and McKenzie. Then she became the first female finance minister of France. She is now the first woman to lead the IMF and is in control of the global economy during an extended period of austerity. This reflects upon this experience.
    "It's a common trait of women, to be concerned about the collective success more than about their individual visibility respectability and success," she says.
    Lagarde is acutely aware that she is a trailblazer in this chiefly male industry every time she steps into the IMF boardroom - where the portraits of her male predecessors hang.
    "I hope that there will be plenty of other female paintings," Lagarde says. "I feel even worse when I look around the table unfortunately, because there's only one female executive director out of 24 around the table."
    She is using her current position of power to draw attention to issues concerning women in the global workforce.
    "I'm the managing director of the International Monetary Fund...and our voice is listened to by policy makers," says Lagarde, who is helping coordinate empirical research and analysis to provide evidence of the strong contribution that women provide to the economy.
    "I don't want to let my female colleagues around the globe down," she says. "I don't want them to turn around to me and say...'why did you make a mess out of it'?" she says frankly.
    Follow us at @CNNiwomen for the next part of our interview with Christine Lagarde #cnnwomen