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24 October 2023

Women in Economics: what you need to know about gender equality

How many women are there in the ECB Governing Council? And in boardrooms and the broader financial sector? Why does gender equality matter in macro-finance and beyond?
Women in Economics: what you need to know about gender equality
By Positive Money Europe

The European Parliament is currently holding its fourth European Gender Equality Week, focusing on the theme of ‘Gender Equality: What’s Next?’. The week features a variety of events to raise awareness regarding gender equality issues.

The question is: where do we stand in reality, especially in those areas we deal with as an organisation?

Despite significant strides, women are substantially underrepresented in economic and financial debates involving positions of power.

All 20 national central bank governors in the euro area are men

Just last week, the EU Parliament approved Piero Cipollone as a member of the European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board, by 509 votes in favour, 59 against and 40 abstentions.

The Executive Board, comprising six members, is the most powerful body of the ECB; nevertheless, other than Christine Lagarde and Isabel Schnabel, only three women have served on it since its founding in 1998. 

The truth is that the vast majority of top-level officials in the Eurosystem are men.

Despite previous calls from the European Parliament to introduce balanced candidate shortlists for ECB board appointments (consisting of one man and one woman), no substantial progress has been made. The issue of gender balance is part of a larger problem of lack of diversity concerning political views, social backgrounds and minority representation.

The underrepresentation of women across banking and financial institutions

The underrepresentation of women is not confined to Frankfurt. The most recent 2023 Gender Balance Index by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) reveals that, at the current pace, it will take 140 years to attain gender parity in leadership roles within central banks and financial institutions. In this ranking, the ECB holds the 23rd spot, ahead of all other central banks in the EU. 

The Nobel Prize awarded to Claudia Goldin: another step forward towards gender equality… but much remains to be done

Just two weeks ago, Claudia Goldin was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for her research on gender disparities in the labour force, which provided ‘the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labour market participation through the centuries’.

Want an example? A brilliant article she coauthored with Cecilia Rouse, published by Princeton University, showed that the implementation of blind auditions in orchestras during the 1970s and 1980s led to a higher percentage of women successfully passing through the selection process.

Unsurprisingly, she is only the third woman to receive the Nobel Prize

Gender pay gaps, biases, unequal access and discriminatory attitudes continue to impede women’s economic potential, resulting in a significant loss of talent and growth opportunities. 

Gender equality is a fundamental right and an essential milestone of a just and democratic society. 

At Positive Money Europe, we take pride in the fact that 90% of our team is made up of women, exemplifying that positive change is indeed possible.

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