We need a female perspective on economic policy

Yesterday’s announcement of Alan Krueger as chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors got us wondering: Where are the women? For sure, there is a woman on the Council and in senior positions in government and financial institutions. But when it comes to making headlines – it’s the guys that get the ink.

Ezra Klein, author of the blog Economic and Domestic Policy and Lots of It, writes,  “Of Course it’s Alan Kreuger.” He’s a leading labor economist.  He’s served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. He has a proven ability. He’s a close tennis buddy of Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner. The Administration has a very specific personnel-replacement strategy.

From where we sit, this strategy borrows from the one that CEOs use when filling board seats: look for people that look like you, white and male.  So, Peter Orszag (Office of Management and Budget) begat Jack Lew. Larry Summers ( National Economic Council) begat Gene Sperling; Robert Gates (Defense Department) begat Leon Panetta; Ron Klain ( Vice President’s office) begat Bruce Reed, and Rahm Emanuel ( White House) begat William Daley, and so on.

Women are more vulnerable than men in economic downturns. They are more likely to be underemployed or without a job. They canlack social protection and have limited access to and control over economic and financial resources.  According to Sha Zukang, Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs ,“ Policy responses to the financial crisis must take gender equality perspectives into account to ensure that women as well as men can benefit from employment creation and investments in social infrastructure.”

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