A Podcast Series from the St. Louis Fed's
Timely Topics audio channel
Less than a third of the students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees in economics are women. That percentage of women further dwindles as education levels rise and as careers in economics advance.
In “Women in Economics,” we highlight the careers of women on the narrow end of those statistics: those who have become prominent economists in this global profession.
“It's still a very important challenge to get more women and more minorities into the economics profession,” says Lael Brainard, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She talks about women in economics at the international level, her time as the U.S. representative to the G20, her focus on financial stability and more. More about this episode »
“There were times when you were the only woman in the room, and you had to bring your self-confidence, your belief in yourself, and the desire for excellence in your pursuits,” says Una Osili, associate dean and professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She talks about the intersection of economics and philanthropy, the state of women in economics internationally and the need for more people of color in the field. More about this episode »
“I think students need to be doing economics, so it’s not me telling them stories or showing them graphs,” says Gail Heyne Hafer, an economics professor at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and author of two children’s books about economics. She shares her stories of how students and teaching have changed during her 30 years of teaching economics. More about this episode »
“I may be dyslexic and I can't read very well. I flip numbers, but I can do calculus in my head,” says Diane Swonk, chief economist and managing director at accounting firm Grant Thornton, as she discusses how her learning disability became a strength. She also discusses how growing up during the economic “demise” of Detroit in the 1970s and 1980s helped show her how economics could have made a difference. More about this episode »
“There are a growing number of communities within economics for young women who may feel isolated or questioning whether or not this is a path that they want to pursue,” says Fenaba Addo, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a visiting scholar at the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability. She talks about finding her voice as the only black woman in most of her economics courses on her way to her bachelor’s and graduate degrees. More about this episode »
“We are identified as women in the field, and yet, we really want to be known as good in the field regardless of whether we’re a woman or a man,” says Loretta Mester, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She talks about being a leader in the male-dominated field of economics, her love of math and how she “lucked into economics.” More about this episode »
“We need to fix the issue of girls thinking that they cannot study something with math,” says Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria, a research economist at the St. Louis Fed. She talks about the economic theory of matching and how it applies to finding a spouse or partner, why we need more women in macroeconomics and how we should encourage girls to pursue economics and other fields involving math. More about this episode »
“I firmly believe that there is more ‘we’ and less ‘me’ among women, which leads to productive teamsmanship and the nurturing of each other and the next generation of economists, whether male or female,” says Susan Feigenbaum. Feigenbaum is a curators’ distinguished teaching professor in the department of economics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. More about this episode »
“Maybe we can do better than we have,” on diversity in economics, says Claudia Sahm, the section chief for consumer and community development at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Despite groups and newsletters dedicated to women, minorities and the LGBT community, Sahm said there is room for improvement in the field. More about this episode »
“I realized that keeping your head down and working hard was not going to get you that far, because you need to get recognized for that,” says Ellen Zentner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley. This “aha” moment led Zentner to actively manage her career, and the result was advancement and success. Zentner went from the University of Colorado to the state of Texas and finally to Wall Street.
More about this episode »
“There’s no way that I would have been able to find my way without some help,” says Mary Daly. She shares her story of how she went from high school dropout to research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Daly credits a counselor, a professor, and even former Fed chair Janet Yellen for aiding in her success. More about this episode »
This podcast series is part of the St. Louis Fed's Timely Topics audio channel.