February 17, 2014

Janet Yellen – New Federal Reserve Chairman; & Female Empowerment

I am a Treasury Manager at an investment company in Jamaica, which is part of a leading multinational corporation. We always have the TV in the trading room on the Bloomberg channel. Janet Yellen was giving her first public remarks as Fed Chairman to the House Financial Services Committee on February 11, 2014.

Janet Yellen is the 15th Chair of the Federal Reserve & the first female Chair. She officially assumed office on February 3, 2014.

As we listened to what she was saying and watching the effects on the financial markets, I couldn't help but notice her outfit. She had on a nice jacket that was quite fashionable I thought. She also wore a grey pearl necklace. She didn’t wear the usual solid, boring colours that are normally worn by women in government. It was quite refreshing & thought I’d share.

It is a great thing that the great U S of A has a woman leading their economy. It brought me back to a show I was watching where there were some women of the view that women should not and cannot lead because we are too emotional and that is how it has always been. They went on to say that most Fortune 500 companies have men at the helm.
Now this really grinds my gears (Family Guy reference). I went to Immaculate Conception High School- an all-girls Catholic high school in Jamaica. One thing I especially loved my school for was that as women we were never to feel like second class citizens or feel that there was anything we couldn’t do. We had a lot of compulsory subjects and activities & many rules like not walking on the lawn (this was to preserve the lovely lawns). Up to this day I feel weird walking on a lawn but these things made us better women and well rounded.

I digress. My point is I felt empowered. In college, it was kind of weird being in a learning environment with males. I realized more the dynamic that because I was a woman I should be quiet or let the men shine. This brings me back to what I was watching on the show; I saw this in a lot of the women in college and subsequently in the corporate world that they felt that men are the leaders of the world and we women should just accept that. Even if a woman is more qualified than a man, a woman should expect the man to get ahead.

This is sad that women even think this way. I get it that it is a male dominated society but this is just how we have been socialized since the beginning of civilization. A man just decided he was better than a woman and that was it, it caught on. Thank God for the Feminist movement, as we can do anything a man can do. The only limitation I can think of is that they are physically stronger than us. We need to empower ourselves as women to believe that we can do whatever we want to do and not think that we can’t solely because we are women.

I’m not saying give a woman a job just because she is a woman. I’m saying to end sexism and have people accessed due to their skills and experience. Yes there are some jobs better suited for men than women and vice versa. All that being said, empowerment starts in the mind. Women put themselves at a serious disadvantage by thinking they can’t do something before they even start and/or regretting that they were born female.

I also encourage women to be independent and not depend on a man especially financially. You see it all the time women staying in truly unhappy and/or abusive relationships due to them being financially dependent on a man.

This is a topic I am passionate about as you can see. I could go on and on but I will conclude by saying that women should:
·         celebrate being women
·         stop tearing each other down
·         believe in & love themselves
·         be independent
·         be ambitious & pursue their dreams