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Janet Yellen ’67 confirmed to serve as first female Treasury Secretary

Biden’s cabinet nominee confirmed by Senate, Yellen studied economics at Pembroke College

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Janet Yellen ’67 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Monday evening to head the Department of the Treasury following announcements of her planned nomination by the Biden administration in November. Yellen is the first woman to hold the position.


The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Yellen’s nomination.


Yellen’s nomination was approved unanimously Jan. 22 by the Senate Finance Committee. Her confirmation process consisted of remote hearings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


In a Jan. 19 confirmation hearing, Yellen told the Senate she intended to push Congress to “act big” in financially assisting the nation fight economic instability brought on by the pandemic. In December, the national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent.


In 2014, Yellen became the first woman to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve following four years as vice chair under the Obama administration. She also served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999 under the Clinton administration.


An alum of Pembroke College, Brown’s previous all-female coordinate college, Yellen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1967 with a bachelor’s in economics. In a 2013 email to The Herald, Yellen wrote that she developed a “lifelong passion for economics in general and macroeconomics and international finance in particular” while at the University. 


Since his election in November, Biden’s Cabinet nominations have been noted for their diverse representation of women, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.




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