This week, the Bank of England has come under scrutiny from Members of Parliament due to its lack of diversity. MPs have prompted Philip Hammond, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, to address the issue.
The issue follows the appointment of two new members to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, which has left the board with only one female member.
Senior MP Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has particularly voiced her thoughts on the issue, claiming that more women are needed to fill top jobs at the Bank, and that, despite the approval of the two new members, “wider concerns about the composition of the policy committees, and in particular about diversity at the most senior levels at the Bank of England,” are necessary to be discussed. Morgan recently wrote to Hammond requesting “specific confirmation that all efforts are being made to encourage as diverse a range of candidates as possible” and assurance that everything is being done to ensure that he is boosting diversity among individuals in powerful financial positions. In her letter, Morgan asked the Chancellor to report data on applications for the Monetary and Financial Policy Committees, including gender breakdowns for every level of the application process. The idea is to see if people of certain genders or racial backgrounds are dropped as the process progresses.
Morgan was also sure to add that “the Committee has taken the opportunity to emphasize that it…expects candidates to have a proven track record in the area to which they have been appointed, as well as demonstrable personal independence,” stressing the idea that admission to certain positions should be solely based on qualifications and abilities to complete the task at hand, and that it is of paramount importance for “ the Committee…to be provided, prior to appointment hearings, with diversity data on the candidates applying to the associated position.”
Moreover, regarding the appointments, despite the approval of Professor Silvana Tenreyro and Deputy Governor Sir Dave Ramsden to the Monetary Policy Committee, a Treasury spokesperson made it clear that though the organization is “pleased the Treasury Committee has agreed to the appointments of Professor Silvana and Sir Dave” and that the selection “process is fair and open for senior appointments to the Bank of England” that the Bank must still “recognize there is still more to do to improve diversity.”
Other MPs besides Morgan have also voiced their opinions on the matter. In an interview on the topic of diversity earlier this week, Ramsden made it clear that “there are definitely women capable of doing my job. It could be done by people of other backgrounds.” Moreover, Mark Carney, the bank’s Governor, has said that that the 21pc overall pay gap for the Bank did indeed reflect a lack of senior women in the organization.
Although we may like to think our world to be a hub of diversity and equal opportunity, there are many areas of life that we can look at to see that maybe our world is not as equal as we might want to think it is. If we are dedicated to promoting gender equality, maybe we should make sure it exists in practice as well as in principle.