Janet Yellen is on the verge of becoming the most economically powerful woman in the world; she has been nominated as the successor to Ben S. Bernake, the Federal Reserve chairman. President Obama nominated Yellen for the position, and if she is confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first female ever to head the Federal Reserve, or any central bank in the Group of Seven economies for that matter.
Yellen is currently the vice-chairman of the Fed, and is known for being a brilliant economist. She is well respected and has spent most of her career working on economic policy at top universities around the country. Her major focus has been the causes and effects of unemployment, and her appointment would likely mean a greater focus on reducing unemployment in the United States.
Not only is her mission a valuable one, but her appointment would also be symbolically significant. There are just a handful of women in top-level positions in business and government, and finally appointing a female head of the central bank would be a big step in women’s fight for equal opportunity.
Former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair wrote in Fortune that having a woman overseeing the nation’s finances is long overdue. “Testosterone-laden Wall Street usually feels more comfortable dealing with guys than gals,” she wrote.
“Yellen is clearly the most qualified successor to follow Ben Bernake. There’s no reason to pass her over for less-qualified males,” Bair continued. “Yellen already has a “Y” in her name; she doesn’t need one in her chromosomes.”
With her prominence and respectability in economics, Yellen is the clear choice—but will she receive more scrutiny in the position simply because she is a woman?