European & International News

Time for the European institutions to take gender equality on board

[Brussels, 03 October 2012] The highest level of European monetary decision-making is 100% male. Now, as a place on the ECB’s Executive Board stands open, no single female candidate has been considered for the post. The EWL has long called for the inclusion of women at all levels of decision-making. This time, the call is being echoed by other stakeholders, notably Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and the hearing of Yves Mersch for the position has been postponed.

Sharon Bowles, MEP (UK), Chair of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, issued a critical statement on 07 September. Silvie Goulard, MEP (France), who sits on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, pointed out that “If a male candidate were to be appointed this time then, except in the case of resignation or death, there would be no possibility of having a female member on the ECB Board until 31 May 2018”. The EWL backs these calls for the implementation of the EU’s commitments in terms of gender equality.

Ms. Bowles apparently received informal, verbal assurance that “no suitable women could be located for the position”. However, 60% of all European university graduates are women.

The 2012 edition of the Central Bank Directory, lists just 12 female governors out of a total of 160 central banks and currently none of the 17 Eurozone governors on the ECB governing council are women.

It is high time that the European Council puts Gender Equality and specifically, women in decision-making and parity on its agenda. The European Council, European Commission and Parliament must put parity measures into place to ensure balanced nominations to positions in the European institutions.

As Ms. Goulard states, “To designate a sixth male member to the ECB Board, without having even shortlisted a single woman, would have destroyed any credibility of calls by the ECB, the European Commission, the European Council to modernise our economies, to increase competitiveness, to undertake "structural reforms" (including an increased number of women in the labour market).”

Here you can find the briefing note by Ms. Goulard on the matter.

Franziska Brantner, MEP, also issued a Press Release, available here:

The EWL believes that boardrooms as EU institutions do not become gender-balanced naturally and that the Council of Ministers (responsible for designating the ECB board candidates) also has to get rid of its gender blind spot and has to fulfill the obligations laid down by many EU treaties. In times of crisis in particular, the Council of Ministers is called upon to further reconsider its personnel policies in light of the large body of evidence pointing out that including women on boards increases efficiency.

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