IMF head Christine Lagarde on what empowering women can do for economic growth

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde became the first woman to be managing director of the International Monetary Fund back in 2011 when the global economy was recovering from the financial crisis. Her organization is an economic adviser and occasional lender to nearly 200 countries.

Lagarde spoke to "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday about the critical role women play in growing economies and creating profits for companies, and why women's empowerment is a "no brainer." She also discussed working with the Trump administration and why her organization lowered its estimate for U.S. economic growth.

Forbes routinely ranks Lagarde as one of the top ten most powerful women in the world. She shared the stage with another powerful woman, Ivanka Trump, at this year's Women20 Summit in Berlin. While some criticized Ivanka's participation in that event and others, Lagarde said the president's daughter's focus on women's issues, so long as it's "delivered upon," is welcome.

"She's focusing, from what I understand, on women issues, empowering women, making sure that women entrepreneurs from around the world can have access to finance, can be empowered. I think it is such a vital cause and such a way to try to boost growth, to reduce inequalities, to diversify economies," Lagarde said. "The intention, if it is delivered upon, is critically important. So I welcome that involvement, I really do."

Lagarde, who was elected last year to a second five-year term, believes empowering women is a "no-brainer."

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"Women can just bring so much in terms of economic growth, in terms of profit to companies, in terms of common sense, in risk-taking policies. I think it's criminal not to rely on women more than we do and I will continue pushing that cause," Lagarde said.

Lagarde had some harsher words for President Trump, who threatened North Korea on Tuesday during his first speech to the U.N. She criticized his rhetoric and warned of how it could affect South Koreans, who are just across the border from the rogue county. She called for "a lot of calm, and a lot of cooperation" when dealing with Pyongyang.  

"I'm far more interested in the realities and what I heard yesterday about North Korea, in particular, had a lot to do with politics and rhetorics," Lagarde said. "I was in Korea last week and I could see for myself how complex these issues are and how critically important it is for the South Koreans who live just across the border and within range of whatever could be done across the line of demarcation."

In terms of working with the Trump administration, Lagarde said she's had "good" meetings and discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and supports tax reform.

"We certainly have made recommendations concerning tax and the tax reform first draft – and I'm not going to comment on the depth of the draft because I haven't seen it – but the tax reform in its principles, we support it and we are prepared to continue to examine and explore and make recommendations," Lagarde said.  

Back in June, the IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth to 2.1 percent because expectations that there would be prompt tax reform and a massive investment in infrastructure have yet to be fulfilled.

The Trump administration has set its own goals for economic growth between three and four percent, which Lagarde said would be "very difficult" to achieve.

"Particularly if the reform pace is as slow as it is. And that contrasts with the rest of the world because the rest of the world is doing pretty well."