The Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, with a 56 to 26 vote, the New York Times reports (bad weather prevented the rest of the Senators from being present for the vote). Yellen is the first woman to ever head the central bank, a milestone some say is long overdue:
As a woman, Ms. Yellen will be a rarity among the world’s central bankers, a club dominated by men. “Practically one hundred years to the day from when the Federal Reserve was created, the central bank finally has its first woman president,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “It’s about time.”
But while she may be in small company as a woman, she is certainly not the first Federal Reserve chair to be Jewish. As Steven I. Weiss noted last month during Yellen’s confirmation process, she would be the third Jewish Fed chief in a row.
Yellen’s ascent to the post will also guarantee that, by the end of her first term, Jews will have occupied the Fed’s top post for three decades straight – an unprecedented run of Jewish power and influence. The chairman’s seat hasn’t been occupied by a non-Jew since 1987, when Alan Greenspan was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to follow Paul Volcker.
Ben Bernanke succeeded Greenspan in 2006, under President George W. Bush. Mazel tov to Yellen, whose strong presence in the Fed during the recession, particularly in dealing with the employment crisis, augurs well for her time as Fed chair.