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Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Janet Yellen to head the United States Federal Reserve, marking the first time that a woman has ever held this lofty position. Yellen, who has served as the vice chairman for the Fed since 2010, will officially take over the top spot from Ben Bernanke on February 1st.
The chair of the Federal Reserve’s influence on both the national and global economies is so great that The Atlantic dubbed Yellen "the most powerful woman in world history.”
As the parent of two daughters, I’m thrilled to have a new female role model to point to, especially when discussing career fields not typically responsive to women.
I’m poised to clench my pearls, however, in preparation for the progress reports she may garner. If Yellen’s nomination process is any indication, there’s chauvinism on the horizon.
Back in July, political writer Albert R. Hunt wrote, “No one doubts Yellen's credentials as an economist, but questions have been raised, mainly by those in the Summers camp, about whether she has the gravitas to manage a financial crisis.”
In the end, such ‘questions’ were not enough to block Yellen’s nomination, thanks in part to an open letter drafted in defense of Yellen and signed by hundreds of top American economists. But, as Sheelah Kolhatkar points out in Bloomberg Businessweek, “The traditional image of ‘feminine mystique’ does not generally fit with the job of controlling the world’s money flow.”
Perhaps, through Yellen’s trailblazing ways, it soon will.
Do you think Janet Yellen is a good choice to lead the Federal Reserve? Who handles the family budget in your house? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.