Empowerment of women and equal opportunities are crucial for driving a stronger global economic recovery, and for revitalizing Japan, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Friday.

The global recovery is too tepid and too turbulent, IMF chief Christine Lagarde told a gathering organized by the Japanese government and business groups to support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to promote a bigger role for women in the economy.

“Even after the crisis abates, we will face grave challenges to growth,” Lagarde said.

The global economy is not utilizing women effectively and is “tossing away economic growth at a time when it cannot afford such wanton waste,” she said.

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