{FOF Woman of The Week} Col. Jamila Bayaz

Why would a 50-year-old mother of five want to hold a dangerous job, in a country that isn’t exactly Nirvana, no less? When you’re Jamila Bayaz, a colonel in the Afghan National Police Force, risk taking is part of your DNA. The daughter of a police officer, she quit her university studies over 30 years ago to join the Police Academy, lured by the excitement that a police career would offer. It’s been a job she loves more than her “own breath,” she told a newspaper reporter. One of only 1,500 women police officers in Afghanistan, Jamila recently became the country’s first female officer to command her own district—the 1st district of Kabul—which includes the nation’s main money exchange and central bank.

Jamila’s appointment is being seen as a way to show the West that Afghanistan is committed to respecting women’s rights, although discrimination still runs rampant in the country. Women in political positions or in the police force are at increased risk of attack, with several deadly assaults in recent months. Men under Jamila’s authority have been known to run to the bathroom to avoid saluting her. Although women represent about 1 percent of Afghanistan’s police force, the number is expected to increase to over 5 percent by year end.

The new FOF female police chief has worked as a criminal investigator and counter drug specialist in the city of 4.5 million. She considers drugs second only to terrorism among the top threats that face her nation. Determined to help her country return to peace and prosperity following three decades of war and terrorism, Jamila is a courageous woman with a heart. That’s why she is FOF Woman of the Week.

{FOF Woman of the Week} Janet Yellen

When Dr. Janet Yellen, 67, is sworn in on February 1st as the next Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, she will become the first woman to hold that position as well as one of the most powerful women in the world.

A long-time, esteemed economics professor at Harvard, London School of Economics, and Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Janet later served as the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She currently is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors.

In her new post, Janet will lead the Board in setting monetary policy and will oversee the country’s 12 regional reserve banks. She also will work with Congress and the Treasury Secretary. This puts her in a position to exert tremendous influence on economic strategy in the US, and subsequently, the world.

Janet earned her PhD in economics from Yale, which further puts her at an exalted level, since women account for only 34 percent of all economics PhDs. Besides her, only one other woman sits on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board.

Janet is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel prize-winning economist. Their son teaches Economics.

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{FOF Woman of the Week} Mother Nature

Love her or hate her, Mother Nature isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.  She made headlines this week by casting a “Polar Vortex” across North America— a completely unknown term that has now become commonplace (Americans loooooooove talking about the weather… all the time).

[Read: 10 Things We’ve Had Enough Of]

Since we all have a bit of meteorologist in us, we thought we owed her a shout-out for keeping us indoors this week, spending time with our families and perfecting those hot chocolate recipes.  Until next time, when we have another news-breaking weather story! Tomorrow, perhaps?

{FOF Woman of The Week} Carmen Farina

She’s 70 years old and was about to move with her husband from New York to Florida, now that they’re both retired. But when Carmen Farina got the offer to become Chancellor of New York City’s public schools, she stopped packing.

A former education advisor to Bill de Blasio, the city’s new mayor, Carmen has spent four decades in the school system, as a teacher, a principal, a superintendent and deputy chancellor for teaching and learning under long-time Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After two years in the last position, she stepped down to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Permanent retirement and grand parenting apparently weren’t in the cards for Carmen. While her husband still plans to settle down in warmer climes, she’ll have to settle for tackling some pretty heated education issues up north, including standardized testing, autonomy for principals, and school co-location (where two schools share one building). She’ll also be responsible for executing Mayor de Blasio’s promise to create universal pre-K seats for every four-year-old and expanded after-school programs for middle school students.

It’s thrilling to see a woman like Carmen recognized for her intelligence, passion, dedication and breadth of experience with New York’s public school system. She’s walking into a tough job, but she’s got the stuff to make it a success.

That’s why she’s FOF Woman of the Week.