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Why we need more women in charge of our economy

This International Women’s Day Positive Money is highlighting why we need more women in senior positions at the Bank of England – one of the most powerful public institutions when it comes to the UK economy.
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This International Women’s Day Positive Money is highlighting why we need more women in senior positions at the Bank of England – one of the most powerful public institutions when it comes to the UK economy. The picture above shows some of the Positive Money staff team sporting Rethinking Economics #MoreWomenInEconomics badges.

Please sign our petition calling on the Chancellor to appoint a more diverse range of candidates to the Bank of England’s policy-making committees now.

So what’s the current makeup of the Bank of England and why do we need more women, BAME and non-finance sector candidates in senior positions?

The current lack of diversity creates a risk that the experience of women, BAME people and people on lower incomes will be overlooked when the Bank makes decisions about our economy that affect everyone.

  • Women fill just three out of 23 positions on the Bank’s three major policymaking committees (the Monetary Policy Committee, the Financial Policy Committee and the Prudential Regulation Committee).

  • This risks the experience of women being overlooked when the bank makes decisions about the economy that affect women just as much as men. Women make up just over half of the UK population.

  • The Bank doesn’t publish any information about the number of positions on its policymaking committees filled by black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. Among senior staff positions, where the data is available, the proportion of BAME people is only 6.2%. This is below the civil service average and significantly below the population as a whole.

  • But BAME people face specific economic challenges, such as a growing disadvantage in the labour market, which are important for the Bank to understand.

  • An overwhelming majority of members of the three major committees come from financial and corporate sectors. Over 75% of MPC members were working in the City or in large companies before taking up their post.

  • Not one member of these committees worked for a trade union or not-for-profit organisation before joining the Bank, despite the important role they play in representing the interests of working people.

  • The current challenges facing economic policymakers mean that experience of the wider economy is hugely important for making good decisions. The impact of the Bank of England’s decisions are far-reaching and affect every person in the economy.

  • Solving the long-term structural problems with the UK economy – stagnant productivity, weak wage growth, widening inequality, job insecurity – depends on drawing on a range of different viewpoints. These challenges require radical solutions but the narrow makeup of the current committees risks propagating group-think and bias. Diversity would instead help promote more creative thinking.

The Chancellor has the power to appoint most members of the monetary and financial policy committees. There is no shortage of talented potential candidates who are women, BAME or from trade union or civil society backgrounds.

Appointing members from a broader range of backgrounds will improve the committees’ abilities to understand and support the UK economy so that it works for everyone, and not just the very richest.  

So that’s what we’re calling on Philip Hammond to do. Please sign our petition now:

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