Christine Lagarde is the 11th managing director of the International Monetary Fund—and the first woman to hold the position. “Many young people, particularly young women, ask me advice as to how they can succeed, how they can progress, how I did it,” said the TIME 100 honoree in an exclusive interview. Her advice to women includes three “imperatives”: Educate yourself, choose a partner who will support your aspirations and have confidence in yourself.
“Very often, [women] just carry with us that sort of looming doubt as to whether or not we can do it, whether or not we can achieve something, whether or not we are going to be barred from accessing this position or entering into this particular world,” she said. “I think we have to fight that internal doubt very strongly and help each other by building confidence.”
Lagarde said she also tries to combat double standards by pointing them out when she notices them them. “I’ve seen enough of it to actually finger-point and make people aware of how they are adopting this double standard,” she told TIME. “Then, people are embarrassed about it. I think we shouldn’t be shy. We shouldn’t be aggressive, we shouldn’t be threatening, but we should, with a big smile, say, ‘Ha! You’re addressing me in that way. This is interesting.’ It makes people think. It helps them.”