Central Bank Gender Balance Declined This Year, OMFIF Says

Central Bank Gender Balance Declined This Year, OMFIF Says

(Bloomberg) -- Major central banks aren’t doing very well when it comes to hiring and retaining women.

A gender balance index fell to 19 percent in 2018 from 31 percent, reflecting a decline in women in senior roles, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum said in a report.

The slide in the overall score compared to last year can be explained largely by the stepping down of women in large-economy central banks that carry a greater weight: Janet Yellen’s departure as Chair of the Federal Reserve in February was the single largest factor. The score for North America fell to 24 percent from 68 percent, leaving Europe as the highest-scoring region.

Central Bank Gender Balance Declined This Year, OMFIF Says

“The world of central banking is becoming less gender-diverse,” OMFIF said in the report. “There is a need to assess why the gender imbalance is so stark and what can be done to change this.”

The index tracks the presence of men and women among senior staff of central banks, weighted by level of seniority. A score of 100 percent would be awarded to a perfectly gender-balanced institution.

The U.K. saw a drop in its score to 20 percent from 29 percent, as policy makers Minouche Shafik and Kristin Forbes left the Bank of England last year. Shafik’s replacement was initially a woman, Charlotte Hogg, though her appointment was short-lived as she failed to disclose a conflict of interest. Former Treasury economist Dave Ramsden took her place.

Forbes’ replacement, Silvana Tenreyro, is now the only woman on the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee. Nevertheless, Europe as a whole was one of only two regions to see its score improve.

Just two of the 25 policy makers on the European Central Bank’s governing council are women, the report showed. It has the opportunity to improve its score by the end of next year as the terms of four of its Executive Board members expire, though a man has already been nominated for the post of vice president.

The top 20 league in terms of gender balance is dominated by small countries, which together make up only 6.6 percent of the world economy. They include four island states in the Caribbean, two in the Asia-Pacific region, one in Africa, and others in the Balkans and former Soviet Union. Only two G-20 economies -- France and Russia -- make the top 20.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at, Zoe Schneeweiss, Lucy Meakin

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