Action Needed: Please contact President Obama right away and urge him to appoint Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. With years of experience at the Fed, an impressive academic resume, and a comprehensive view of the American economy, Yellen clearly is the best person for the job — male or female. But in addition, she would be the first woman Fed Chair and provide better gender balance to the circle of the president's top advisers — something that is sorely missing in his second administration.

It is now being reported that President Obama will not make this decision until fall — but please register your views with him now. He needs to know that women are watching this particular appointment very closely because the campaign against Yellen has been deplorably sexist.

In addition, urge the president not to appoint Lawrence Summers to this post. Summers' deregulatory zeal contributed directly to the Bush-era economic crash. Summers cannot be trusted to lead an institution that can do great good — but also great harm — to the economy overall and to women's economic security in particular. Moreover, his supporters have mounted a sexist effort to discredit Yellen by saying she lacks "toughness," is short on "gravitas" and is too "soft-spoken" or "passive." These demeaning pronouncements are of a piece with Summers' own history of misogyny — as president of Harvard he opined that women might lack an "intrinsic aptitude" for science and engineering. In short, Summers is simply the wrong person, male or female, to lead the Fed.

Use our formatted message at the end of this alert or write one of your own, but please speak out on behalf of all women and their families trying to recover from a deep and harmful recession!


Janet Yellen is the best qualified candidate: Dr. Yellen is the best person for the job of Fed Chair. While her appointment would be historic as the first woman to hold this position, Yellen's extensive experience at the Fed makes her an even more uniquely qualified candidate. A Vice Chair of the Fed since 2010, former member of the Council of Economic Advisers, and former president of the San Francisco Fed, she has good judgment and impressive experience. Not only was she one of the few in the Fed system to sound the alarm on subprime mortgages in 2007, but she also views the economy in a comprehensive way. Instead of solely focusing on Wall Street, Yellen takes unemployment as seriously as inflation — which is, in fact, the Fed's dual mission. She has also worked arduously to improve the agency's transparency.

Summers' irresponsibility is a disqualifier: Larry Summers' advocacy for the reckless deregulation of financial markets contributed to the recent Great Recession. In 1999, he was a driving force behind the repeal of key parts of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act which had maintained a sharp divide between investment banks and commercial banks. The result was a wave of bank consolidations which created mammoth "too big to fail" banking institutions — entities that the taxpayers bailed out while millions lost their jobs, homes and retirement savings. Summers also blocked Brooksley Born's efforts to regulate the over-the-counter derivatives market while the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. (At the time the derivatives market was promoting the sale of credit default swaps on home mortgages.) Those activities ultimately played a major role in the financial industry meltdown that ushered in the Great Recession, which has had such a devastating impact on women and their families.

Summers can't be trusted to care about the impact on women of his work. In 2005, NOW called for him to resign or be fired from Harvard University after he suggested women might lack "intrinsic aptitude" for math and science. His idea of tamping down the resulting outcry was to say, in effect, that he was just joking. He was ultimately forced out of that position.

Please contact the president right away!