From Karnataka’s Mysuru to becoming the first ever woman deputy MD of IMF –Here’s all about Gita Gopinath

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New Delhi: Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s senior economist, is scheduled to start her new job as the global fund’s first deputy managing director, the organisation said recently. The Mysuru-born economist will succeed Geoffrey Okamoto, who is expected to depart the IMF early next year. 

Gopinath was the first woman to serve as the head economist of the International Monetary Fund, and she has now created history once more, making Indians proud of her accomplishments. “I am sad to see Geoffrey go, but I am glad that Gita has opted to stay and undertake the new responsibility of being our FDMD,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement announcing the decision.

Gita Gopinath’s nomination as the IMF’s top economist made history in 2018, and it only took three years for the India-born woman to shatter it again. However, until she was in the seventh grade, her parents did not consider merit to be anything to be proud of. Then things took a turn for the worst. “A girl who had been scoring 45 percent till class seven began to score 90 percent. I had never urged or required my children to study, and I had never placed any limitations on them.

Their pals visited them at home and stayed to study and play. Both of my girls used to go to bed by 7.30 p.m. and get up early until SSLC. Gita studied science at Mahajana PU College in Mysuru after finishing high school. Later, despite having excellent enough grades for engineering and medicine, she chose to pursue a BA (Hons) in economics, according to her father, Gopinath, in an interview with The Week.

Her father was the one who taught Gita multiplication in his own special style. Gopinath would bring fruits to the table and then demonstrate how to multiply to his daughter. Gita later tried her hand at guitar and walked the ramp, but she focused her efforts entirely on her education after graduating from Lady Shri Ram College and enrolling in the Delhi School of Economics. Gita Gopinath met her husband Iqbal during her post-graduate studies. Rahil, the couple’s 18-year-old son, is the couple’s only child.

In 2001, Gita Gopinath chose to abandon her plans to become an IAS and enrol at the University of Washington in Seattle for a five-year fully financed PhD programme. She then went on to earn her degree at Princeton University, after which she became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.

In 2010, Gita Gopinath travelled to Harvard to pursue a position as a tenured professor. Before she shattered her own record, she was set to return to Harvard as a professor after her tenure as the IMF’s head economist.

While appointing her to the new position, IMF managing director Georgieva stated that the pandemic has increased the breadth of macroeconomic issues in every country. “I believe Gita—who is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost macroeconomists—has exactly the skills we require for the FDMD post at this time.” Indeed, her unique skill set, when combined with her years of experience as Chief Economist at the Fund, makes her particularly equipped. Georgieva stated, “She is the perfect person at the right time.”

Gita Gopinath expressed her gratitude for the honour. “Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand and participating in the IMF’s vital work at the nexus of rigorous economic analysis and public policy. It has been extremely rewarding to witness the good effects of our work on economies and the lives of so many people all across the world. The Fund’s mission has never been more crucial, and international cooperation has never been more important, as the pandemic continues to grip us,” she continued.

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