• 08-MAR-2021

  • Washington, DC

IMF Womenomics Yellen Covid

Women face an undue share of the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, but the Biden Administration is hoping a massive stimulus package can help ease the burden on Americans, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an ‘IMF Womenomics’ event released Monday (March 8) in Washington, DC.

Marking International Women’s Day, Yellen joined a one-on-one conversation with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva discussing their personal and professional journeys through the traditionally male-dominated world of economics.

They discussed ways to make the profession more attractive to women, including by making it less confrontational and working to make it more collaborative which both thought would help young female economists feel more valued and likely to stay in the business.

Eventually the talk turned to the current crisis and Georgieva called it a “She-cession” facing women globally and asked what could be done in the US.

“I think it's absolutely tragic the impact that this crisis has had on women, especially low skilled women and minorities,” said Yellen in the virtual event taped a few days earlier.

“In the United States we've been talking about this is a K-shaped crisis. People at the top of the income distribution have continued to do very well. And people closer to the bottom have, who have been really struggling for a long time in the United States and many other countries, have been the hardest hit. It is an extremely unfair thing that's happened,” she added.

“We're really concerned about scarring, permanent scarring from crisis. And it's focused very heavily on doing everything we can to get back on track as quickly as we can,” said Yellen.

Yellen, the first woman to lead US Treasury and only person to hold all three top American government economic roles including leading the Council on Economic Advisers for the White House and Chair of the Federal Reserve struck an optimistic note.

“We're hoping that this week a large pandemic package is going to be passed in Congress that will, you know, really, I hope... By next year I think there's a prospect that with an all-out effort on vaccination and reopening schools, that we can really get the labor market back on track later this year or next year to avoid what we had after the financial crisis, which was almost a decade before the economy ever got back to full employment,” she concluded.

To watch the entire event go to IMF.org or watch it on the IMF YouTube Channel. And to learn more about the IMF work and research on gender https://www.imf.org/external/themes/gender