Janet Yellen: First Woman to Serve as the Treasury of the Secretary


Simone Fontana

Janet Yellen speaking at a United States Federal Reserve meeting.

On January 24th, the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the United States Secretary of the Treasury. The Senate voted Yellen in 84-15, the slight opposition coming solely from Republicans concerned about President Biden’s proposed spending initiatives.

The position was originally assumed by founding father Alexander Hamilton in 1789. Since then, 77 people have been Secretary of the Treasury, with Yellen being the 78th and first woman to ever head the treasury, making her confirmation monumental.

The Secretary of the Treasury is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate in a majority vote. They are a part of the President’s cabinet, and as they serve to advise said cabinet on economic matters. However, their primary tasks include paying all U.S. bills, collecting taxes, and managing federal finances.

But this is a position that Yellen is well-equipped for. With a Ph.D. from Yale University in economics and years of working as a professor in the same subject at Ivy League universities around America, Yellen knows her stuff. And not only that, but she has worked with the Federal Reserve since the seventies, serving first as an economist to the Board of Governors until she was appointed as a member by Bill Clinton in 1994. Then, from 2014-2018, Yellen served as the Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States— the first woman to serve in that role as well.

With impressive credentials to back her up, there can be no doubt that Yellen is qualified for this position. And during this time of economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s comforting to know that someone with her skill and caliber is heading the United States’ finances.

Already, Yellen has stated that she believes that the government needs to “act big” in helping out Americans. She has endorsed the President’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan and spoken out on her own plans for reviving the economy.

Some worry that perhaps she is acting too big, but Yellen responded to this fear, stating that neither she nor Biden proposed this relief package “without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden.”

In a further show of her understanding of America’s economy, she explained that “without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now—and long-term scarring of the economy later.”

So in her hands America rests its financial burdens, trusting that Yellen will revive the economy and bring the nation out of its fiscal crisis. May her big actions prove wise rather than reckless.