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IMF chief Christine Lagarde: There's still a glass ceiling and it's not going away

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), speaks during a news conference at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), speaks during a news conference at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

The first female managing director of the International Monetary Fund believes there is still a glass ceiling facing working women today.

Talking to CNBC in an episode of Life Hacks Live, Christine Lagarde said, "There is definitely still a glass ceiling, it's not going away. And I think it's everybody's mission to make sure that it does go away."

Lagarde has been a vocal proponent of gender equality in the workplace, and argues that women are battling both legal and cultural obstacles in the fight for equality.

"We (IMF) finished a study of about 140 countries in the world; advanced economies, emerging market, low income countries… 90% of them have embedded in their legal system discriminations against women."

"It's unbelievable, you would have thought no of course not. Well, yes there are discriminations and we're only talking about the legal basis. Think about the cultural mindset and the biases that we all have. So we need to speak up," she added.

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In her advice for young women entering the workforce, Lagarde believes forging alliances with colleagues is especially important.

"Try to find people, men or women, who either will face the same situation as you, who have faced the same situation and with whom you can progress in your job."

As the first female director of the IMF, Lagarde wants to pave the way for future female leaders to come.

"Being the first has given me visibility and I can raise my voice and I can speak up on certain issues t­hat I'm particularly concerned about."

"My very strong hope is that if there has been a first, there has to be a second, and a third, and the fourth, and it's really my hope that that can be the case; that there is a string of women who feel empowered to at least try, and for many of them to succeed," she added.

Life Hacks Live is a series produced by CNBC International for Facebook, where tomorrow's leaders get to ask some of the world's biggest influencers for advice. You can watch the full episode here.