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When will the Federal Reserve be led by a woman?

April 4, 2013: 6:14 PM ET


Janet Yellen is the favorite pick for next Federal Reserve chair, should Ben Bernanke step down after his second term ends next January.

At least, that's according to the latest chatter among Fed watchers, including Neil Irwin at the Washington Post's Wonkblog and The Economist.

Of course, neither Yellen nor Bernanke have commented publicly on the matter.

In its 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has never been led by a woman, and worldwide, central banking largely remains an old boys' club.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated Elvira Nabiullina to be the next head of the country's central bank. When she takes the post later this year, she will be the first female to head a central bank in any of the G8 countries.

Of the Federal Reserve's current 12-person policymaking committee, four members, including Yellen, are women. That's representative of the broader economics profession. Women make up about a third of all Ph.D. economists, according to the American Economic Association.

When I asked Yellen about the lack of female leaders in the profession, she said she hopes that's changing.

"I really think this is something we're going to see increase over time, and it's time for that to happen," she said about women leading central banks.

Seems we need more young women to Lean In to the economics profession, not to mention the world's central banks.

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