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-Rana, you got to interview-for the first time-the new chairman
of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. And when you came
back from the interview, I couldn't decide where I wanted
to start it with you, of whether I really most
cared about what kind of growth projection she sees for
this year or whether I wanted you to talk about
what it was like to interview her compared to other
comparable-if there any comparable figures who are men as opposed
to women. -Well, one of the obvious things to say
is that the only comparable figures are men. You know,
she's the first Fed chief in history that's a woman.
She's one of the few really, really top-of-the-pyramid academic economists
who's also had that level of a policy career. So
she's pretty singular. That said, she's kind of a den
mother to a whole group of slightly younger economist people
like Laura Tyson, Christy Romer. There are a lot of
people that look up to her. I actually look up
not only to her as an academic and a seer-she's
been the most accurate of the Fed governors in the
last five years-but also as a person. And people particularly
speak about her marriage to another- -So tell us about
that- -Yeah. -that-I didn't know until I read a-read your
piece-what an extraordinary partnership this is. -Totally extraordinary. Her husband,
George Akerlof, is a Nobel Prize-winning economist. He won through
his work on why markets are not as smart and
efficient is as we thought. He shared that honor with
Joe Stiglitz. And they have had these incredibly high-powered crews
running in tandem in different cities, which as-you know-as we
all know is a pretty hard thing to orchestrate. They've
informed each other. She says that George encourages her to
be more of an out-of-the-box thinker. -So one of the
debates that we had as we were putting together this
story was how we felt about calling her the most
powerful woman in the world, and Radhika, you had a
strong reaction to that. Can you talk about that? 'Cause
everything that you said sort of surprised me but made
me think differently about when and why and how we
should put those labels on people. -Well, I guess I
just didn't want to pigeon-hole her in a way. I
mean, it sounds like-it's such a lofty thing to call
someone, right, the most powerful woman in the world. But
I didn't want it to seem like we were singling
her out because of her sex. We're not writing about
her because she's a woman. We're writing about her because
she's a Fed chair and she's coming into this position
at a really pivotal time for the US economy and
she has really important and optimistic things to say about
it. I guess I just didn't want that kind of
line to distract from the very important message that she
has for our readers and for us. You know, we
assign those kinds of titles, the most powerful, most influential-often,
it speaks as much to the institution as to the
person and she is now a historic figure. I mean,
whatever happens in her ten years, she is a historic
figure. -The other interesting conversation which you got at a
bit in talking about this-their remarkable marriage and partnership goes
to the conversation that continues to be completely viral online
and certainly, you know, in conversations I have with other
women, which has to do with the choices women make,
the tradeoffs that they make. This conversation just-we never seem
to be tired of re-litigating the questions about leaning and
then leaning back and standing up and- -Falling over. -Sometimes.
-So, Callie, wonder-especially for younger women looking at this, does
this give you hope that, oh, it is possible to
be achieving at the highest level and have it all
or, gee, watch this and just say, this is hopeless
and I'm so tired of this conversation. It needs to
go away. -I think it's absolutely inspirational, seeing that Janet
Yellen said to Rana her husband contributed more than fifty
percent of his fair share in the housework is something
that I think women everywhere would just love to have.
-Uh huh. -I think that Janet Yellen represents someone who
is so different than Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg and
the cookie-cutter, personal brand image we have of women with
Twitter feeds who show us the inside of their lives.
Janet Yellen is someone who we don't know much about,
and we learned so much about her in Rana's story
that I think women would be so heartened to hear.
-And that I thought the most interesting anecdote in Rana's
piece was that when Larry Summers was considered the frontrunner,
she said to somebody, "Don't count me out." And I
thought that was a very interesting and revealing take. She
has full confidence in herself. She is someone who has
high ambition, and yet fortunately, we are not seeing her
being presented in the media as a cutthroat and conniving
woman. And that's something that's great to see. -Well, I
think there's no question that you don't get to be
the Fed chief without having a lot of ambition. On
the other hand, it's ambition for the right reasons. I
have gotten the sense through all the reporting I've done-and
I spoke to twenty different sources who have known her
over the years-that she has what economists would call a
revealed preference for being a central banker. I mean, she
has been at the Fed for thirty-six years in different
jobs. That said, her style is different than a lot
of people you see in Washington. She's not-as Laura Tyson
told me-"out there lauding her personal brand." She's not tweeting.
She's not in the Op-Ed page of the-Op-Ed pages of
the FT or the Wall Street Journal. But she's quietly
shaping a lot of thinking, and she's gonna be shaping
the future of the American economy.
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Janet Yellen: World's Most Powerful Woman?

1700 Folder Collection
林佳昀 published on October 2, 2014
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