Gita Gopinath Is First Woman To Feature On IMF’s “Wall Of Former Chief Economists”

gita gopinath on imf wall
Gita Gopinath recently had her picture added to the prestigious wall of former chief economists at the International Monetary Fund. She is the first woman and the second Indian in history to make it to IMF’s equivalent to the wall of fame.

On July 7, Gopinath took to her official Twitter handle to share the pictures with a bright smile on her face with the caption, “Breaking the trend …I joined the wall of former Chief Economists of the IMF”. The only other Indian to have his photograph on this wall is economist Raghuram Rajan who served as IMF’s Chief Economist and Director of Research between 2003 and 2006.

Gopinath served as an assistant professor from 2001 to 2005, teaching economics to the students of Booth School of Business of the University Of Chicago. She then bagged a job at the prestigious Harvard University and was appointed as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics. She remained a part of Harvard for over a decade but then had to take part ways from the university when she was offered the role of Chief Economist at IMF in 2019.

The 50-year-old was supposed to complete her tenure at IMF as Chief Economist in January 2022 and return to her position at Harvard but a turn of events ended up with her being appointed as the first Deputy Managing Director of IMF which eventually postponed her plans to return to teaching.

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Gita Gopinath On IMF Wall Of Former Chief Economists: Why Its Special

How many women economists can you name from the top of your mind? How many of them are women of Indian-origin? How many young girls do you know, who are planning to pursue a career in economics? In fact, how many men and women around you think that economics is a good field for women?

According to a survey the American Economic Association that was conducted in 2020, women only make up for 22 percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in economics. The discrepancy doesn’t just exist on the top level, as only 30 percent of doctorate and bachelor degrees in economics were awarded to women in 2014. Guess what, the percentage was the same in 1995. which shows her how painfully slow the drive for equality in the field of economics has been.

Aside from encouragement and unbiased treatment within the field, women need role models to encourage them to see economics as a viable career choice. They can reach to the top and become a chief economist at the IMF. Gita Gopinath did it, so can they. This encouragement, this inspiration that Gopinath’s photograph brings to young women is so valuable. We hope that more women manage to break the glass ceiling in this stream and own it.