First Woman To Chair The Federal Reserve In Its 100 Year History: Janet Yellen


In terms of women in leadership, this is monumental. Janet Yellen becomes the first female EVER to head up the Federal Reserve in the United States, in its entire 100 year history. Took a damn long time for progress but it finally happened. Yellen started her new position this week and many say it was her merits and achievements in her career so far which made her the most viable candidate by far.

While a quick google search will enable you to see her extensive career history, we’ll give you some highlights, courtesy of the Washington Post. The Brooklyn-born Yellen studied studied economics at Brown University and went on to receive a doctorate in economics at Yale. She was also the only woman in her PhD class at Yale University. No biggie…

She landed a junior position in Harvard University’s economics department once she was done and was one of two women on the faculty.

Before taking up the new position of Chair of the Fed, she was vice chair of the Fed’s Board of Governors, and from 2004 to 2010 she served as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, which was another first for a woman.

Her husband George Akerlof won the Nobel laureate in economics in 2001, and they met while both working at the Fed. Cute!

Apparently, she warned the former Fed leaders of an impending recession at a meeting held in December 2007, and her predictions came true. Janet was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the time Bill Clinton was US president. So she’s been around for a while and knows a thing or two about the American economic situation.

Fun Fact: She is a stamp collector and has a collection that is worth between $15,000 and $50,000. Talk about being good with money!

While she didn’t make any speeches after being chosen as the new chairperson of the Fed, she did have this to day after announcing her nomination: “While we have made progress, we have farther to go. Too many Americans still can’t find a job and worry how they’ll pay their bills and provide for their families,” she said. “The Federal Reserve can help if it does its job effectively.”


Finally, out with the old and in with the new. Economists are hoping Janet’s track record will spur new attitudes and changes to the American economy and help fix the state of this country.

Janet is certainly not one who wants to draw attention to her gender, preferring instead to get on with the job at hand, which is one of the reasons she has been a popular choice. There are many who are no suggesting women in leadership are the key to ending financial and other crises. We’ve seen this with the election of Catherine Samba-Panza as president of Central African Republic who was chosen to lead the country out of intense civil strife and bring it back from the brink of poverty, as the men before did a great job of ruining the country altogether.

Although Janet was not President Obama’s first choice for Chairperson of the Federal Reserve, she became the front runner due to her success breaking barriers, and balancing a career with her family successfully. It wasn’t always an easy road for a woman like her to be in such high positions of power, but the naysayers and negative critics did not deter her from what she knew best and from doing a good job.

“America’s workers and their families will have a champion in Janet Yellen,” Obama said upon announcing her as the Chairperson. “I should add that she will be the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100-year history. And I know a lot of Americans, men and women, thank you for not only your example and your excellence but also being a role model for a lot of folks out there.”

Janet has an enormous task at hand, managing the frail American economy, but may are confident that she is the person who can do it. Here’s to more women working hard for positions of leadership where their hard work speaks for itself, rather than their gender. We can’t wait for the day stories like this become so common it doesn’t need to be pointed out. In the meantime we are excited to report stories like this which give hope to future generations of smart girls that anything is possible



  1. I know she will do a great job. This is kind of unrelated, yet not. “They” (not sure who they are) say that women are catty, picky, and bitchy, but the congress (mainly men) are being just like what “they” accuse women of being. We need more strong women in politics to get these men to play nice!!!

  2. Pingback: Orange Is The New Black Star Producing A Film About Women On Wall Street

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