I have always worked twice as hard as men to be equal, IMF chief says

Georgieva says she had to work “twice as hard” to be equal to her male colleagues.

Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty Images

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC she has always worked “twice as hard” to be equal to her male colleagues.

“I don’t want my daughter and my granddaughter to have to work harder than men to be equal,” she told CNBC’s Tania Bryer in an interview broadcast Wednesday.

“I want them to be equal just because they are. This is what I want the story of my life to be.”

Georgieva was appointed as managing director of the IMF in 2019 and is the second woman to hold the role. While the “tide has turned” on women’s roles, there has been a “step back” in gender equality in recent years, the IMF chief said.

“The pandemic, then the war, then the cost-of-living crisis – they hurt everyone but they have been hurting women the most,” Georgieva said.

Issues that hold women back are “macro-critical” Georgieva added. For example, global GDP would be almost 20% higher if gender employment gaps were closed, according to World Bank data.

Countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia regions could see their GDPs increase by as much as 80% if women were able to fully participate in the labor market, according to the research.

“This is the loud and clear message we are sending from the IMF — bring women forward for their sake, but for the sake of everyone,” Georgieva said.

“We have now assessed that it would take 130 years with the current speed to bring gender equality. I don’t think we can afford that time. We need a vibrant economy, a vibrant society. Therefore we need women to be equal to men, everywhere,” she said.

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