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Nobel economics prize winner hopes to inspire 'many, many other women'

French economist Esther Duflo on October 23, 2015.
MIGUEL RIOPA | AFP | Getty Images

The winner of this year's Nobel economics prize, Esther Duflo, said she hopes her win will "inspire many, many other women to continue working."

Speaking at a press conference following the announcement on Monday, Duflo said she also hoped her win might prompt "many other men to give [women] the respect they deserve."

Duflo was awarded the prize alongside Abhijit Banerjee, her husband, and Michael Kremer, for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."

She is the second woman to win, following Elinor Ostrom in 2009, and at 46-years-old is also the youngest person ever to be given the accolade.

The gender imbalance among winners reflected a "structural" problem in the economics profession which deterred women from the field at the outset, Duflo said in a later phone interview with nobelprize.org.

"I think the profession is starting to realize the climate and the way we treat each other is not conducive for having more women in the profession," Duflo said, adding that the culture of economic academia was mired in a tradition of aggression and conflict.

"It's how people talk to each other and address each other in seminars, that we need to work on to ensure it's more respectful and will be more acceptable for women to think they don't have to play the games of shouting at each other."

While she believed this was starting to change with a younger cohort of economists, it was "not happening fast enough," and the field needed to make more progress in showing younger people that it was relevant to the problems they cared about.

The economist also said her profession lacked ethnic diversity.

Duflo, who grew up and completed her first degrees in Paris, France, has a PHD from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is a professor of poverty alleviation and development economics at the US college.

The French-American Nobel laureate received the MacArthur "genius" Fellowship in 2009 and was named as one of the "forty under forty" most influential business leaders by Fortune magazine in 2010.

The book she wrote with Banerjee, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2011.

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