If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will oversee U.S. monetary policy during “a critical period for the economy,” says Heidi Hartmann, an economist and president of the non-profit Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Yellen’s calls would affect big businesses as well as ordinary American lives.

“She’s going to have her finger on the pulse of just about every major decision people make: what to buy, what to borrow, where to save, where to work, how to get a job,” she says of Yellen, currently Fed vice chairwoman.