Central Banks Failing in ‘Social Duty’ to Achieve Gender Balance

(Bloomberg) -- Women are still woefully underrepresented at the world’s central banks.

A gender balance index climbed to 25 percent in 2019 from 19 percent last year, but it remains below the level in 2017, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum said in a report published Thursday. A score of 100 percent would represent perfect balance between women and men.

Increasing diversity “is about reducing groupthink to help improve outcomes and decision making, honoring the social duty to reflect the society they serve, and increasing the pool of talent that governs their success,” said OMFIF Chief Economist Danae Kyriakopoulou.

Of 173 central banks, just 14 are headed by women, and 35 have no women in senior positions. Europe has the highest score at 38 percent and North America is just behind at 36 percent. Asia is at 9 percent.

The European Central Bank, which is excluded from the regional calculation, remains a “disappointing outlier” with a little-changed score of just 10.3 percent, having just two women on its 25-member Governing Council. The report is a call for action for monetary authorities, OMFIF said.

“We cannot expect progress to happen naturally,” said Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent. “We must continue to hold ourselves to account, to set targets, to report data and be transparent, and to keep the conversation going.”

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