Ten things to know about Gita Gopinath, the first woman Chief Economist at IMF

Here are 10 facts about IMF's first woman Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, a key leader charting monetary and economy pathways of countries around the world.

We are days away from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealing the Union Budget 2021, India's first Budget after COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, India's economy was on a downward trajectory, and COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns made it even worse.

One of the key asks across industries has been relief measures so that companies can recover their losses and rebuild business in a 'new normal'

And Gita Gopinath, the first woman chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, has a lot to say on the state of India's economy. She has spoken on the controversial farm laws, the path to recovery, how the government can continue to support the economy, and more.

But, who is Gita Gopinath? Here are 10 facts about the trailblazing leader.   

1) The first woman Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gita Gopinath was appointed to the IMF in October 2018 by the President of European Central Bank Christine Lagarde who was then serving as the Managing Director of IMF.

2) Gita, 49, is an Indian-American, who also serves as the Director of Research Department and Economic Counsellor at IMF. A John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University, she is currently on a leave of public service.

3) Amid ongoing farmer protests against the government on farm bills, Gita weighed in and said the new agriculture laws could potentially increase farmer’s income but need to provide a social safety net to the vulnerable cultivators.

4) In 2011, Gita was recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and in 2014, she was listed among the top 25 economists under 45 by the International Monetary Fund

5) In 2019, she was awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest honour for a person of Indian origin, by Ram Nath Kovind, President of India.

6) Gita has served as an economic adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala between 2016 and 2018. The economist was also a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for Ministry of Finance in India.

7) Hailing from Kannur, Kerala, Gita did her bachelors from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and pursued her master's studies from the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington. She holds a PhD in Economics from Princeton University.

8) With expertise in International Finance and Macroeconomics, Gita is the co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics. Notably, she is also the co-editor of American Economic Review, managing editor of the Review of Economic Studies, and co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics programme at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

9)  The economist referred to the recession caused by the pandemic as ‘The Great Lockdown’ while speaking to Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show in April 2020. At the time, Gita said that over 90 countries had reached out to the IMF to discuss financial assistance.

10) Gita’s only social media presence is on Twitter. She does not have an account on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta