Many of you may have heard about the scandal surrounding the former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn while he was staying at the Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan. As a result of his indictment, the important financial position is now open and may, for the first time ever, be awarded to a woman.
Christine Lagarde is the stylish 55 year old French Finance Minister, and the first woman to ever become finance minister of a large (G8) industrial country (13: More Than Meets the Eye). Lagarde's father, Robert, was a university lecturer who died when she was 17 years old. Christine and her three younger brothers were raised by their mother, Nicole, a teacher (1: No Paternal Safety Net).
As a teenager, she was on the French National Synchronized Swimming Team, and spent time in the U.S. as an intern on Capitol Hill. Even though she was turned down twice by the elite French civil service college (ENA), she still trained as a lawyer. At 25, she used her law degree to join the International law firm Baker & McKenzie. By the time she was 43, she became chairman of the company at its headquarters in Chicago - the first woman to ever hold that post (8: Turning No Into Yes).
Lagarde has outspoken (and sometimes unpopular) opinions about "the testosterone-fueled mood of male-dominated hi-tech trading rooms." In her words, "...men have a tendency to show how hairy-chested they are compared with the man who is sitting next to them. I honestly think that there should never be too much testosterone in one room." She has gone on record as feeling that men, if left to themselves, will usually make a mess of things (5: Life is Not a Popularity Contest).
The 5'10" Finance Minister is divorced (15: Forget About Prince Charming); she has two grown sons, 22 and 24, and cooking for them and spending time together is her "delight" (16: Intensive Motherhood).
This high-profile barrier-breaking woman routinely wears Christian Louboutin high heels and has zebra-print carpeting in her official office. As Maureen Dowd wrote "Perhaps a woman who dominated without being domineering is just what is needed at the IMF."
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