(Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Reuters Next conference on Thursday that she had no plans to leave her job any time soon and that she is “enjoying it very much.”
Yellen, 75, is the first woman to serve as Treasury chief and as chair of the Federal Reserve Board from 2014 to 2017, and she was only the second woman to head the Council of Economic Advisers, a role she held under former President Bill Clinton.
“I’ve just started going,” she said. “We’ve got a huge amount of important work to do, so I have no plan to leave Treasury any time soon.”
In her speeches, Yellen often talks about her lifelong interest in addressing inequities in the U.S. economy, and she has played a key role in shaping the Biden administration’s policies aimed at ending childhood poverty, boosting wages for low-income earners and ending systemic racism in housing.
Asked about the impact of having larger numbers of women in key economic positions, Yellen said she believed diversity was important and it remained a key goal of the Biden administration.
“I often appeared, when I was Fed chair, in events with Christine Lagarde, and Christine Lagarde often commented that if it had been the Lehman Sisters instead of the Lehman Brothers, we might not have had a financial crisis,” she said, referring to the collapse of the private U.S. investment bank that fueled the 2008 global financial crisis.
“That’s something that always sticks with me,” she said. “I think women do bring to the table the kind of proclivities with respect to managing risks, and weighing costs and benefits that may lead to more judicious and cautious policies sometimes.”
Lagarde is former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and current president of the European Central Bank.
Yellen, whose deputy, Wally Adeyemo, is the first Black person to serve in that post, said research shows that having more diverse people in power generally results in a wider range of factors being considered and better policymaking.
President Joe Biden promised to appoint the most diverse Cabinet ever, and it includes a record 11 women, including seven women of color, including Vice President Kamala Harris.
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(Reporting by Alessandra Galloni, additional reporting by David Lawder, Andrea Shalal and Dan Burns; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)