Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde

On a recent afternoon, as dusk drew, Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, was sharing some of the details of her plan to fight climate change, encourage global cooperation and strengthen the credibility of international institutions.

If this scarcely sounded like the traditional agenda of a central banker — more commonly focused on managing European economic and monetary policy — that was at least part of her point.

One year into her eight-year term at the bank, Ms. Lagarde, 64, hopes to use her experience not only as an international lawyer, former French finance minister and head of the International Monetary Fund but as a woman to accelerate change, with a particular focus on saving the planet.

In an interview from Frankfurt on a range of issues, she shared some of the insights she has gained over the years from being one of the few — and sometimes the lone — woman in the male-dominated corridors of financial and political power inherent in global organizations like the Group of 7 or Group of 20.

The conversation has been edited and condensed.

One of your priorities at the European Central Bank is putting together a plan to take on climate change. Do women bring a different set of perceptions to combating the damage it is causing?

I actually think so. I think women bring various powers to the table. One is the power of the purse, because I think that in many, many instances women are the decision makers when it comes to consuming. Second, I think they bring the power of life. I think that actually giving birth gives you a sense of prosperity, heritage, transmission, that is quite special. [Ms. Lagarde has two grown sons.]

Source: The New York Times