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Christine Lagarde: role model for millions*

by Shari Graydon

I think I have a crush… Christine Lagarde is my new favourite role model. She’s a smart, hard working, bilingual, vegetarian, feminist lawyer who enjoys men and yoga, demonstrates an impeccable sense of style, and laughs readily while holding down demanding and influential jobs in bastions of male power. And at 55, she has magnificent white hair. What’s not to admire?

It was her new position as head of the International Monetary Fund that caused me to make passing reference to her in the op ed I submitted this morning to The Ottawa Citizen about Women’s Worlds 2011, the biggest women’s conference ever to take place in Canada.

But some of the other factors – her obvious ease in her own skin, ready smile and yes, even that striking white hair – may have influenced the choice of the image used to illustrate my commentary. It’s a winner: Lagarde sits in the French National Assembly, smiling indulgently at one of her male colleagues, looking at one and the same time like a woman who not only gets the job done, but is great fun to hang out with.

screen shot from image of Christine Lagarde published on Ottawa Citizen's website

And her photograph provides a welcome contrast to the usual male suspects that still dominate news pages, and will increase the readership for my piece considerably. So will the headline supplied by Citizen editor and Informed Opinions’ supporter Kate Heartfield: “Gender inequality isn’t a ‘women’s issue’”.

(* cross-posted to I Feel Great About My Hands – And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging blog)