Yesterday, Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate as the first female chair of the Federal Reserve Bank. The Federal Reserve, known as the “Fed,” is the nation’s central bank and is responsible for maximizing employment, keeping prices stable, and moderating interest rates. It’s been around for 100 years, so it’s about damn time a woman was in charge.
Yellen will be one of the few women among the world’s central bankers. But if anybody is ready to take on that boys’ club, it’s Janet Yellen. Here are five reasons she’s awesome aside from the obvious fact that she’s the first woman ever to be appointed to this position.
1. She is so qualified for the job it’s almost ridiculous. Yellen has served as vice chair of the Fed for the last three years. Before that, she was in charge of the San Fransisco Fed, the branch of the federal bank serving nine states, for six years. She was the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (reporting to then-president Bill Clinton) for two years, and served for three years on the Fed Board of Governors. She also holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Yellen is by far one of the most experienced chairs in history.
2. When it comes to predicting where the economy is going, she’s the best. In 2007, Yellen was one of the few economists at the Fed who warned that a recession could be just around the corner, and she was right on the money (had to go for the pun, sorry). A review by the Wall Street Journal concluded that Yellen’s predictions were the best of any Fed economist in recent years.
3. She’s been a major voice in the fight to reduce unemployment. Yellen has been adamant about the fact that high unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing our economy. Recently, she talked about the costs of long term unemployment, explaining that the longer people are out of a job, the less employable they become. This could lead to a higher “natural” unemployment rate even in a good economy, so Yellen has frequently pushed the Fed to take stronger measures to reduce unemployment and stimulate economic growth. She has also focused on the human impacts of unemployment, emphasizing that unemployed people “aren’t just statistics.”
4. She has spoken about the need for more women in banking. In April 2013, when asked about the lack of female leaders of central banks, Yellen said, “I really think this is something we’re going to see increase over time, and it’s time for that to happen.” Indeed.
5. She’s not afraid to admit mistakes. Yellen was the first Fed economist in 2008 to call it like it was and say that the nation had fallen into a recession. Since then, she has admitted that the Fed didn’t do enough to stimulate the economy in the immediate wake of the recession. In recent years, she has pushed for the Fed to continue measures to ease debt, keep interest rates low, and reduce unemployment as the economy slowly grows.