Will Fed Appointment Reignite Gender Wars?

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the executive editor of Bloomberg News, before which he was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal.
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President Barack Obama's deliberations over whom to appoint as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve may end up setting off a new version of the Gender Wars.

The old-boy network of Democratic economists is pushing for former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to succeed Ben Bernanke. Members of this coalition include top White House officials, and Summers acolytes, Gene Sperling and Jason Furman. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also is said to be in this camp.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television today, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, though she wouldn't choose sides, declared that it would be "great" to have a woman as central bank chief. She may have been referring to another leading contender to replace Bernanke in January, Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen.

Summers had raised the ire of some women when he suggested, as president of Harvard University, that women may lack an aptitude for science and engineering. So, a question arises: Will top White House aide Valerie Jarrett, a champion of women, weigh in with the president?

Privately, both sides continue to snipe at each other as the Summers camp raises questions about Yellen's gravitas, while Yellen's supporters question Summers' temperament.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Albert R Hunt at ahunt1@bloomberg.net