Christine Lagarde: Empowering women in a changing global economy

Speech by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at the International Women's Day event organised by World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva, 8 March 2023. 

Central bank speech  | 
08 March 2023

It is a pleasure to be here at the WTO to discuss women and the economy on such an important occasion: International Women's Day.

And this discussion is happening at a critical time: geopolitical tensions and the fragmenting of world trade are threatening to roll back decades of advances in women's economic empowerment.

Since the great financial crisis, the global economy has been hit by a series of unprecedented shocks – most recently, Russia's war against Ukraine. And all this has taken its toll on trade growth, which has plateaued as a share of world GDP.

Instead, protectionism is on the rise – and may well get worse – as countries reconfigure their supply chains to align with new strategic goals. The number of trade restrictions in place has jumped tenfold over the last decade.

This is not to say we are facing an outright deglobalisation – far from it. The powerful economic logic underpinning the gains from international trade remains as valid as ever for governments and firms alike.