Gender and monetary policy. Should central bank executive boards have more women?
A quick revision of the high-level staffs in the main Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Latin American central banks confirms that this unbalance composition in gender terms is the rule, not the exception. Only in Argentina , Peru or Sweden the female ratio is around one third, reaching the parity in the US Fed. By contrast, according to their webs, in some other well respected ones such as the Bank of England or the Central Bank of Gender Equality in Chile women are not represented at all in their highest board.
This naïve observation opens again the debate on female representation in high-level positions, now focused among those in charge of monetary policy.
- Is it just a cohort effect and gender representation will be balanced by market forces, or not? If it were the case, how long should we expect to wait?
- If markets are not ruling, is it just the effect of a self-selection mechanism (men may enjoy setting interest rates more than women, for instance), or a reflection of gender discrimination?
- And, which is the effect on the effectiveness of the central bank and on inflation?
- Finally, if we agree that there is a case for public policy action, which one should be pursued, Quotas?
The debate is open.
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InesInProgress: Before making a judgment, it is very important to go back to the origins of this lack of female representaion in bank boards or high level financial positions. If the reason is pure gender discrimination, then a quota system becomes crucial. Unfortunately, while similar systems are in a way or another based on discrimination themselves, they are an important tool of inclusion of vulnerable groups, women here. A quota system is also a very important empowerment tool economically, socially and even psychologically speaking. Yes, women need to be includded and to be a key economic contributor on a higher level. Yes, a society needs to reflect gender equality (being a very important sign of development). And, yes, giving women high level positions is very important for their self-confidence, self-esteem and their overcoming of the “vulnerable group” status.