Gita Gopinath© HelloIndia

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Gita Gopinath

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Gayatri Rangachari Shah

Why she matters: A regular at global policy meetings, the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund is the academic proving that female is the future of finance.

From this year’s mid-July meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Gandhinagar, during India’s G20 presidency, a photo of powerhouse women in key finance roles was widely shared. In it were captured India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman; US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and next to her, her first Deputy Managing Director, Dr. Gita Gopinath.

Recognised as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists, Gopinath made history as the first female chief economist of the multilateral agency. She’s been with the IMF since 2018, is a regular at global policy meetings and over the years, been awarded various honours, including being elected to the American Society of Arts and Letters.

A regular on various ‘power lists,’ Gopinath was born in Kolkata in 1971 and studied at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, before enrolling at the Delhi School of Economics. She then attended the University of Washington and received her PhD from Princeton University in 2001, where she was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Research Award.

Among her doctoral advisers were Ben Bernanke, who went on to chair the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve, as well as two future chief economists of the IMF. After Princeton, Gopinath taught at the University of Chicago as well as Harvard.

At the IMF, she helped set up the team focussed on the economic effects of climate change and also co-wrote an influential report, “Pandemic Paper,” on how to end the pandemic, which led to various agencies coming together to form a taskforce to battle Covid-19.

Gopinath is married to her Delhi School of Economics classmate and has one child. As a seasoned academic, she may return to the hallowed Ivy halls, but given her profile, don’t rule out high-level government jobs yet. A future Indian-origin US Treasury Secretary? Let’s wait and watch...

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!