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Christine Lagarde Announces Candidacy for IMF Head

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde officially announced her candidacy for the director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) late Tuesday at a special press conference in Paris. After the IMF’s director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned last Sunday, the search for a new manager has led to speculation surrounding Lagarde’s potential bid, and she has quickly gained the support of the United Kingdom and major European figures. John Lipsky, acting managing director of the IMF, said she would “make an excellent leader” of the IMF.

Strauss-Kahn resigned last week as head of the IMF after being arrested and charged with sexual assault. Since his resignation, much controversy has emerged regarding the treatment of women within the IMF. The New York Times ran an article last week that received much attention, depicting the treatment of women at the IMF as a place in which sexual abuse, harassment, and gender discrimination are commonplace.

Some employees of the fund have voiced that placing a woman in charge at the IMF would be a welcome change, saying that it has largely been a male-dominated workplace. The IMF told CNN on Monday that it aims to increase the number of women in senior roles by 10% over the next three years.

Lagarde joins other possible candidates from Mexico, Brazil, and Kazakhstan, but remains the most likely candidate as the IMF has traditionally been led by Europeans. The selection process will be complete by June 30.

Sources:

Forbes 5/25/11; CNN 5/24/11; Bloomberg 5/23/11; New York Times 5/20/11; Feminist Newswire 5/16/11

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