First woman to chair the Federal Reserve
‘Unfortunately, women and minority economists are still underrepresented.’
I had worked primarily as an economics professor and researcher before joining the Fed as a governor in 1994. This really marked the beginning of my career in public service, which was something I had always hoped to have the opportunity to do. It is a great honor to be part of the Fed and also a great responsibility to be working in the public’s interest. Work at the Fed is not abstract; it matters to individuals and families and businesses across the country, whether it is through the setting of short-term interest rates, overseeing parts of the banking system or helping maintain financial stability. I have felt that same sense of awe and honor and responsibility every day since President Bill Clinton first nominated me in 1994.
I hope other women will have the same opportunities that I’ve had. I’ve been an economist for over 40 years. There has been considerable progress in increasing gender and ethnic diversity in the field. Unfortunately, women and minority economists are still underrepresented, particularly at the highest levels of academia, business and government. Many in the field are working together to understand and change that. I am encouraged by the American Economic Association’s work in this area, and it is a priority for me at the Fed.
Yellen, formerly an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, is the chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.