Many of the jobs that run the world’s largest economy are now held by women, and they’re trying to change it.
Many of US President Joe Biden’s economic advisors, as well as nearly 48 percent of his approved cabinet-level officials, are women, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and trade tsar Katherine Tai.
This sea shift could already be influencing economic policy: Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion spending plan includes $400 billion to finance the “care economy,” which supports home- and community-based employment caring for children and seniors, work that has largely gone unacknowledged in the past.
Hundreds of billions of dollars more are included in the proposal to address ethnic and rural-urban disparities that have been exacerbated in part by past economic, trade, and labor policies.
Yellen claims that the emphasis on “human resources” and the previous $1.9 trillion bailout bill would result in dramatic changes for women, whose share of the workforce had already fallen to 40-year lows before the crisis, as well as everyone else.
“In the end, it might be that this bill makes 80 years of history: it begins to fix the structural problems that have plagued our economy for the past four decades,” she wrote on Twitter, adding, “This is just the start for us.”
Experts believe that women leaders will bring a new approach to economic policy.
“When you’re different from the rest of the group, you often see things differently,” said Rebecca Henderson, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire.
“You tend to be more open to different solutions,” she said and that is what the situation demands. “We’re in a moment of enormous crisis. We need new ways of thinking.”