This week’s nomination of Christine Lagarde to be the next President of the European Central Bank is the latest example of women in top positions in economic policymaking around the globe.

A new book from the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the European University Institute and the International Trade Centre celebrates that emerging trend by bringing together leading women thinkers in government, business, finance, academia, international organizations and the media to focus on the big challenges of global economic governance.

Contributors to Women Shaping Global Economic Governance – who include Lagarde, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and CEPR President Beatrice Weder di Mauro, among many others – discuss how to respond to three big shifts in the global economy – the digital revolution, the environmental revolution and the social revolution – and the accompanying return of geopolitics. A central theme is how to restore trust in global economic governance at a time when millions of voters seem to have lost faith in the system.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has written the book’s foreword, says:

‘[The authors’] contributions to the discussion and ideas are not only an expression of their expertise, but also reflect women’s aspiration to shape globalization as equal partners. This publication makes an important contribution to realising gender equality as a fundamental prerequisite for shaping globalization fairly.’

In their introduction to the publication, the editors, Arancha González and Marion Jansen of the International Trade Centre, conclude:

‘We urgently need to restore trust in globalisation and maybe even in democracy itself. For this to happen, governance will have to signal credibly that social concerns are fully embraced in the design of policy.’

‘In other words, governance will have to go beyond “policy coherence”, the narrower emphasis on making sure policy initiatives in different areas do not undermine each other. Doing so will demand bold new thinking, which in turn will require new partnerships.’

In her chapter, Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, draws attention to small countries in the global economy:

‘Small states are the canaries of the international system, and we should listen for their song. A well-functioning global system – one with easy cross-border movement of people, goods, and capital; with the provision of international public goods such as humanitarian, peacekeeping, and development assistance; and governed by rules and legitimate processes – is of most significant benefit to small states.’

The editors note that global economic governance has for many decades centred on a network of multilateral institutions shaping the social sphere around us. But while cooperation continues to be pursued across many areas, global governance has become increasingly contested, with a marked rise in populism and unilateral designs that are eroding the influence of collective policy action and fostering a distrust of globalization.

At a time when the world faces increasingly challenging questions on environmental, digital and social issues, the informed analysis and expertise provided in this book are needed more than ever.

Notes for the Editor

Download Women Shaping Global Economic Governance for free.

About ITC – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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