Janet Yellen: Don't Call Me 'Chairwoman'

Image: Janet Yellen: Don't Call Me 'Chairwoman'

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 11:53 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Janet Yellen stands only 5 feet 3 inches tall, and yet she became the world's most powerful woman on Monday when that day she took over the helm of the Federal Reserve.

And her first instruction to her staff is that she does not want to be known as "chairwoman," saying that "chair" will do just nicely, according to The Washington Post.

Nominated in October by President Barack Obama to succeed Ben Bernanke, she has become the first woman to run the Fed in its 100-year history.

The 67-year-old Yellen, who was confirmed by the Senate last month, was sworn in by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, the senior member of the Fed's seven-member board.

She took the oath in a brief ceremony in front of a fireplace in the Fed's board room, with her husband, Nobel-winning economist George Akerloff, in attendance alongside Fed board members and senior staff members. Her tenure will end in February 2018.

Brooklyn-born Yellen, who earned a doctorate in economics from Yale, will have complete control over the dollar, by far the strongest international currency. She was not the first choice of the president, who wanted Harvard professor Lawrence H. Summers for the post.

But Summers shot himself in the foot when he suggested during a speech that the small number of women in math and science areas could be because of "innate" differences between the sexes.

His seemingly sexist remarks caused an outcry, with women's groups demanding that he never be put in a position of authority, says the Post.

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