As Women’s History Month ends, Boston Fed reflects on the Bank-wide contributions of women
Women help Bank fulfill its mission as leaders, economists, researchers
As Women’s History Month ends, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is celebrating the ways its female employees drive its mission to promote the economic well-being of communities in the First District and nationwide.
Women are leading at the Boston Fed – on the Board of Directors, inside the president’s office (soon), through research, and with timely insights on topics from inflation to the nation’s child care crisis. Here’s a look at some of that news and work:
Leadership at the Boston Fed
Macroeconomist Susan M. Collins will begin serving as the Bank’s president and CEO in July, making her the second woman in the Boston Fed’s history to assume this role. Collins will also contribute to national monetary policymaking on the Federal Open Market Committee.
"Throughout my career, I have been driven by a commitment to leveraging research, education, and public service to improve lives,” Collins said, calling the nomination an honor. “I look forward to helping the Bank and System pursue the Fed's dual mandate from Congress – achieving price stability and maximum employment."
Board members Jeanne Hulit, Lizanne Kindler, Christina Hull Paxson, Lauren Smith, and Kimberly Sherman Stamler discussed the significance of the Boston Fed’s first majority female Board of Directors and shared their journeys as leaders across the public and private sectors.
“What the board shows is that women are leading in areas that are vitally important to New England,” said Paxon, board chair and president of Brown University.
Female economists at the Boston Fed discussed the persistent gender gap in economics and shared their experiences navigating discrimination in a field where most leadership roles are held by men. They also shared advice for women considering a career in economics.
“It was a revelation in this male-dominated field – which economics certainly was at the time and, I think, still is – that in the Federal Reserve System I was guided and mentored by smart and impressive women up and down the line,” said Joanna Stavins, a senior economist and policy advisor.
In “Inflation Levels and (In)Attention,” Boston Fed senior economist and policy advisor Jenny Tang and visiting scholar Anat Bracha, an associate professor at the Hebrew University Business School, introduce a new way of measuring how much attention U.S. consumers pay to inflation.
“Forming expectations is essential for optimal decision making and, as such, is at the core of economic behavior,” the authors wrote. “In macroeconomics, expectations about future economic conditions are key because they affect consumers’, investors’, and firms’ decisions, and these decisions, in turn, drive macroeconomic outcomes.”
“Delivering Debt Relief Through the Banking Sector: Lessons from the Irish Mortgage Market,” co-authored by Boston Fed economist Claire Labonne, focuses on the Central Bank of Ireland’s response to the 2008 global financial crisis. The researchers explore several key factors of the central bank’s strategy, which allowed private banks more freedom than in the U.S. on how to modify troubled loans.
“What's interesting about the Irish case is that, sure, there was significant policy intervention,” Labonne said. “But actually, what they did was they set up the stage for the banks to make all the decisions.”
The podcast: The child care crisis
For too many Americans, the nation's child-care system is broken. Many parents strain to afford it, low-paid workers struggle to stay in it, and high-quality care can be difficult to find.
“I once said to my daughter's child-care provider, ‘I pay way too much, and you charge way too little.’ And that, to me, sums up the problem with our system,” said Assistant Vice President Beth Mattingly, a child-care expert. “An excellent quality center cannot charge what that quality really costs because then parents could not afford to go.”
Listen to the full podcast here.