Something very significant has just happened. It may or may not be on your radar – and if it is, you may be wondering what the appointment of 67-year-old Janet Yellen as the next chair of the US Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, has to do with you. The answer is: Janet Yellen is a window on the future. It’s your future. And it certainly appears very different to the prospects for a 67-year-old woman that Janet Yellen herself must have been looking at, growing up a time when it wasn’t unusual for women to quit the workplace forever to have a family.
Many of those women who did set their career sights higher would have believed that being a PA to a high-flying man might be the apex of their career. But running a bank? Finding little green men on Mars might have seemed more likely. And despite the barriers that still stand between women and equal opportunities and equal pay, that really is how far we’ve come.
Of course, 67 probably looks ancient to you, now. I talk to young women who still seem to think that life on the other side of 40 (and kids) is basically over. (And the much-publicised lack of older females on TV and in the media isn’t doing much to address that.) Maybe it’s The X-Factor, maybe it’s just the general I-want-it-now vibe of our times, but do twentysomething and thirtysomething women look ahead and think: ‘That’s what I’d like to be doing in 30 years’ time…?’ Well, that’s what you need to do. You’re so unbelievably lucky to live at a time when doors can still open to women in their 60s and 70s. More fiftysomethings are embarking on start-ups than at any time in history. Politicians like Christine Lagarde, 58, and Angela Merkel, 59, are proving that in politics, for women, your late 50s and 60s are prime-time…
Like many no-longer-thirtysomething women now that more opportunities than ever are opening up, there’s still a huge amount I want to achieve: places to visit, projects to complete, even new ventures to start. But it all hangs on staying energised and healthy enough to do just that – and nobody can take responsibility for that but you. If you want to be running an empire at 56, or 67 (or maybe – let’s hope – even 77), get your sleep, take your vits, exercise. Laugh. Don’t take life – or your career – too seriously, at least not all the time. Because it should also be about the journey, not just the destination.
It’s almost impossible for you to imagine, I’m sure, that less than 100 years ago, women were marching for the vote. Now we’re running banks. And countries. (Now, if we could just take over the railways …)
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at
- Monetary Policy / Why it matters whether the fed targets inflation or unemployment
- The Fed and the Unemployment Rate / Fisher says he’s opposed to cutting the 6,5% threshold
- Gender Pay gap in US / Millennial Women Near Parity
- Gender Job Gap in US / Women not part of manufacturing turnaround