First Women in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016

TIME        Time magazine often highlights First Women in its annual list of 100 Most Influential People and this year was no exception. It is a pleasure to feature them on this blog posting, but also of interest is noting which people were selected by Time to write the profiles for the First Women. Three of these profilers hold firsts as well, two women and one man.

The one exception is the article on Angela Merkel, the first Chancellor of Germany. Honored for her work in accepting refugees, she was praised not by a First Woman but certainly by a powerful one: Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, an observant Muslim, was also featured. The First Woman to compete in the Olympic Games wearing her hijab, she will represent the United States States in the fencing competitions.

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               The article on her was written by Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress.

Christine Lagarde is also featured. As Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, she coordinates 100 nations in determining financial policies and assuring financial security. She was the First Woman to attain that position. She was also the First Woman to serve as Finance Minister in France, the First Woman in any developed country to reach that position. In the United States no woman has ever served as Secretary of the Treasury.

The article on Christine Lagarde was written by Janet Yellen, the First Woman Chair of the Federal Reserve System. Two years ago, when Janet Yellen was featured as one of the top 100, it was Christine Lagarde who wrote the article about Yellen’s achievements.

Another First Woman featured is Lori Robinson. At the time of publication Time could only anticipate the four-star general’s confirmation as the First Woman combatant commander. (She assumed the position on May 13, 2016.) She had previously led U.S. air forces in the Pacific, but now is the top general for military operations in North America with added responsibility for homeland security. It is one of the most senior positions in the U.S. military.

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        The article about her was written by Tammy Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot in Iraq. Currently a U.S. Representative from Illinois, she is the first Asian American Woman elected to Congress from Illinois and the First Woman disabled veteran to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Women in Time 100

1101130429_600Time magazine recently published its annual listing of the 100 Most Influential People and a number of the American women were First Women To. . .

Janet Yellen, first woman to head the Federal Reserve System. The article about her was written by Christine Lagarde, the first woman to direct the International Monetary Fund

–Hillary Clinton, the first First Lady elected to national office and the first woman to win a presidential primary

–Mary Jo White, the first woman U.S. attorney in Manhattan

–Megan Ellison, the first woman producer to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year

–Kathryn Sullivan, from the first class of female astronauts and the first American woman to walk in space

Mary Barra, the first CEO of a major automaker

 

Janet Yellen – Chair of the Federal Reserve

          Last week Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate to be the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve Bank, a position making her, according to one analyst, “the second-most-powerful person in the country.” She joins Christine Lagard, the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund, in guiding financial policies for the world’s most powerful nations. 

JANET YELLEN          As chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen is now a woman of extraordinary power. The Federal Reserve System, established in 1913, makes policy decisions without approval from the President or anyone else in any branch of government. Nor does Congress approve the bank’s funding and members of the Board of Governors serve terms that span presidencies and congressional terms.

This power comes with extraordinary responsibilities. The economy has been kept afloat by a large infusion of stimulus money, according to a plan that Yellen designed. Now she has the onerous task of tapering the stimulus without sending the economy into a new freefall. She must also implement the Dodd-Frank banking reforms that regulate financial organizations. Her predecessors believed strongly in allowing those institutions to self-regulate, but she has indicated that one of her “most important goals of the postcrisis period,” is to address the too-big-to-fail issue. She will have to balance the views of those who believe the law is burdensome and those who believe it does not go far enough.

Some argue she may be better-trained for the position than any previous office holder. Janet Yellen earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, summa cum laude, from Brown University and then earned a Master’s and Doctorate in economics from Yale. She taught at Harvard University and the London School of Economics. She worked at the Federal Reserve in the 1970’s and became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1990’s she served on the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Clinton. She then served as President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. She warned early that the subprime meltdown was coming and would contribute to an inequality that would “undermine American democracy” unless the social safety net was strengthened. In 2010 she was elected vice president of the Federal Reserve.

Dr. Yellen’s academic research focused on the causes and implications of unemployment. She holds what Time magazine calls “the contrarian idea that low wages can actually increase unemployment.” She believes that unemployment is the country’s biggest problem at this time and her own research demonstrates that workers who feel underpaid are less productive. She supports a higher minimum wage and asserts that new economic policies must recognize that the last five years strained not only the economy, but individual families as well.

LEARN MORE:

Read about her confirmation: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/janet-yellen-senate-confirmation-federal-reserve-chairman-101800.html

Read a short biography: http://www.biography.com/people/janet-yellen-21362135

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

          In your opinion, what is the most significant economic issue for women today?