It is clear that Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, thinks the struggle for equal rights is an important issue. When attendees at the recent Women20 summit in Berlin were asked if they viewed themselves as feminists, her hand shot up immediately – in contrast to the more hesitant German chancellor, Angela Merkel, sitting on the podium next to her. Although Ms. Lagarde was unable to attend the first Women’s Finance Summit hosted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in person, she gave a keynote speech via video.
Women can play a key role in strengthening the financial sector, according to Ms. Lagarde; studies by her organization, the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, show that for each additional woman in senior management or on the executive board, a company’s return on assets increases by 0.08 to 0.13 percent. In other words, companies benefit financially by promoting women.
The problem is that in Germany women are a rare sight on the executive floors of financial institutions. There are far more women at the controls of French and British banks.