Draghi Says ECB Has `Some Work' to Do on Fixing Gender Balance

(Bloomberg) -- Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank has its work cut out to develop a staff profile more representative of the wider population.

“The gender balance ought to be improved and this ought to happen at all levels,” the ECB president said on Thursday when asked by a journalist how the ECB president assesses the institution’s gender balance in light of International Women’s Day.

Draghi seemed to have anticipated the question. Consulting what appeared to be prepared remarks on the matter, he said that “we’ve made significant progress since we set explicit targets,” but “still these targets are less than what we wish and the numbers now fall short of our interim targets.”

Only 27 percent of management positions were held by women at the end of 2017, compared to an interim target of 29 percent, and goals for senior management fell short by an even larger margin, the ECB said in a statement published after the press conference.

“The Executive Board of the ECB has decided to take additional measures to improve gender diversity. It also decided that, in addition to the existing targets, the ECB should have at least one woman in each of its business areas’ senior management teams and that at least one third of the wider management team in each business area should be female.”

The update is part of an initiative first launched by the ECB in 2013, when it outlined a six-year vision to increase the share of women in influential roles. Central banks across the world generally have a poor track record in achieving gender balance, and the ECB is not the only one struggling to empower women among its ranks.

Just one of the six policy makers on the ECB Executive Board -- which is appointed by euro-area governments -- is female. As the terms of four of those members expire by the end of next year, there’s an opportunity to improve this, although a man -- Spain’s Luis de Guindos -- has already claimed one of those spots.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.