By Caroline Salas Gage and Steve Matthews - Oct 28, 2013
Janet Yellen, nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, is poised to become the most economically powerful woman in the world.
Yellen, 67, would be the first female head of the 100-year-old Fed and also the first woman to lead any central bank among the Group of Seven economies, which include the U.K., Germany and Japan. Her appointment, if confirmed by the Senate, would put a woman at the pinnacle of the economics field, helping change a history of male-dominated culture among policy makers across the globe.
“Given the shortage of women in important positions within our profession, she has not only broken the glass ceiling, she has completely smashed it to pieces,” said Mark Gertler, a New York University economist who has coauthored research with Bernanke and praised Yellen’s qualifications. “Just about everyone with any connection to the world of monetary policy is vigorously applauding Janet Yellen’s nomination.”
It “is very significant,” Gill Marcus, the first woman to head South Africa’s central bank, told reporters in Cape Town Oct. 9. “When you talk about women governors, well, it will be a great advance.”
If she is confirmed, she will have an influence on every American’s finances -- from credit-card bills to mortgages and food prices -- in addition to running the regulator of the nation’s largest banks and nonbank companies deemed systemically important, said Mark Calabria, director of financial-regulation studies at the Cato Institute in Washington.