Fed’s Powell says bridging gender gaps key to successful economy

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FILE PHOTO: Treasury Secretary Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Powell testify during the House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington

– Women suffered more from job losses in the COVID-19 recession than men and bridging gender gaps is imperative for the U.S. economy to reach its full potential, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday.

“Long-standing disparities weigh on the productive capacity of our economy, which can only realize its full potential if everyone has a solid chance to contribute to, and to reap the benefits of, broad-reaching prosperity,” Powell told a virtual conference on gender and the economy hosted by the Fed.

Powell did not make any comments on the outlook for monetary policy in his remarks. Last week, the central bank announced it would begin to scale back its crisis-era asset purchase program later this month given the strength of the economy. The extraordinary stimulus had been introduced in March 2020 to shield the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Powell last week also said the Fed would remain patient and prioritize further strides towards maximum employment before raising interest rates, despite jitters over higher-than-expected inflation.

An announcement on whether U.S. President Joe Biden will renominate Powell to a second term as head of the central bank is expected soon.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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