GITA GOPINATH
VOGUE India|November 2020
The intellectual powerhouse and first female chief economist at the International Monetary Fund has taken on the greatest challenge of her career—to guide global economic policy as we enter the worst recession since the Great Depression, writes Shahnaz Siganporia
Shahnaz Siganporia

The last thing you expect to be discussing with one of the world’s leading economists is fashion accessories. But Gita Gopinath is telling me why the traditional Indian jhumka has been her faithful companion, be it when she’s holding court at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, schooling Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show on the Great Lockdown and what this means for our global economic future, or as she Zooms in from her home in Boston through my screen. “I’m just one of those people that if something works and I like it, I stick with it,” she says animatedly, her jhumkas almost nodding along in agreement. But from earrings to life goals, the one thing Gopinath does with a ferocious intensity is stick to being who she is, owning her agency completely.

She’s squeezed our conversation into the early hours of her busy morning, between her 17-year-old son Rohil’s first day of school as a senior and her first Vogue cover shoot that will follow right after our call for precisely an hour (probably our quickest yet!). Then, it’s back to work that has her scheduled-out way past sundown. Barely a year into her job as the economic counselor and director of the research department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—the apex body that ensures the stability of the international monetary system, among other functions—and this 48-year-old is leading the conversation to combat the unprecedented global economic crisis.

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