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Who Runs The World? Girls. Chief Economists at IMF, OECD and World Bank are Women

With the recent appointment of Gita Gopinath as IMF's Chief Economist, women are the big bosses.

Parth Sharma | News18.com

Updated:October 2, 2018, 2:04 PM IST
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Who Runs The World? Girls. Chief Economists at IMF, OECD and World Bank are Women
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With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appointing Gita Gopinath as Chief Economist, the national and international media erupted in jubilation at the prospect of her becoming the first woman to hold the top position at the institution.

Coincidentally, Gita’s appointment comes amidst the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also appointing women as Chief Economists in their respective organisations.

While Pinelopi Koujianou was appointed the position at World Bank in April, Laurence Boone was chosen as the Chief Economist at OECD in June, thus completing the 'holy trinity' of women holding head positions in esteemed establishments.

gita gopinath

The ever-shrinking pool of women studying Economics has often been viewed with great skepticism as Economics influences government and public policies and with no women holding top posts, these policy discussions are debated and dominated by men.

Studies reveal that diverse groups which are inclusive of gender, race, age and class perform better in contrast with groups that lack any heterogeneity in them. Meaning that all major government policies become prone to more to being challenged when representatives from all backgrounds are allowed a say.

However, the recent selection of women into chief posts, even as we continue to grapple with a lopsided gender ratio at senior positions, ensures that women representatives are allowed a say in influencing important public policies of economic value.

The 'men are from Mars and women are from Venus' adage enforces a superstitious belief that there will be conflicting opinions between men and women when discussing important economic policies, but surveys conducted show that there is no significant difference of opinion between men and women when economic methodology is concerned, the attitudes become increasingly polarised when a judgement on policy is to be taken. With no representation until now, these economic 'discussions' were limited to being a casual engagement between men. Meaning, men were awarded the privilege to decide policies that bore severe consequences on a certain population which continues to deal with much social, cultural, economic, political oppression.

Although men continue to misinterpret their inadequacy with "Why should representation in policy-making be influenced by a feminist outlook?", they conveniently forget that the population of female economists is a meagre, continually dwindling number. With media citing less than 9 percent of women economists or analysts in Australian newspapers and only 14 percent women having full-time jobs as Economics professors in American universities.

Lack of female representation in Economics prevents aspiring women economists from having role models to look up to. According to a research by the Economic Society of Australia in 2016, it was found that only 33 percent of lecturers and senior lecturers in economics were female, and only 15 percent were Professors and Associate Professors.

And while the recent appointment of women as Chief Economists will open room for negotiations concerning economic activity and policy design, there is hope that it will bring into light the ever-existing issue of gender wage gap.
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