French Finance Minister Tackles Debt, Austerity, Stimulus -- and 'Libido' in the Finance Industry

Amanpour Interviews Christine Lagarde in a 'This Week' Exclusive

ByABC News
October 10, 2010, 9:29 AM

October 10, 2010— -- French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said that "libido" marks the difference between how men and women approach business. In an exclusive interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour, Lagarde tackled the debate between austerity and stimulus and whether the proper mechanisms are in place to prevent another near-collapse of the worldwide financial system. But she also tackled the age-old question of the difference between men and women.

Lagarde made Forbes' list of the 100 most powerful women this month, and Amanpour asked her about what women bring to an arena dominated by men.

"You were a former CEO. Do you think women have a different way of approaching business or approaching the public sphere?" Amanpour asked.

"Yes," said Lagarde, who is the only female finance minister in the Group of Seven industrialized countries. "I think we inject less libido, less testosterone ..."

"Less libido?" Amanpour asked.

"Yes. And less testosterone into the equation," Lagarde replied. "It helps in the sense that we don't necessarily project our own egos into cutting a deal, making our point across, convincing people, reducing them to, you know, a partner that has lost in the process. And it's probably over generalized what I'm saying. And I'm sure that there are women that operate exactly like men," she said.

"But, in the main, and having had nearly 30 years of professional life ... and getting closer to 60 than 50, I honestly believe that there is a majority of women in such positions that approach power, decision-making processes and other people in the business relationship in a slightly different manner," she said.

Lagarde spoke with Amanpour after a meeting with her U.S. counterpart, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

"There seems to be tension between the United States and Europe over what's the most sensible way to deal with the current lack of growth. The U.S. wants Europe to continue pushing money into the system. Europe is talking about a lot of austerity," Amanpour said.