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Bowles blasts lack of women at ECB

Tuesday 31 January 2012 – by Karina Whalley

Sharon Bowles - photo by European Commission
Leading MEP Sharon Bowles has blasted the European Central Bank for being completely dominated by men and having a “blatant disregard” for gender balance.

The recently re-elected chair of the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee has pointed out that not a single woman sits on the ECB’s executive board, governing council or general council – a crucial area of EU policy.
“The ECB is one of the EU institutions where gender balance is most blatantly disregarded,” the vocal British MEP said on Tuesday.
Currently the Frankfurt-based bank’s three main decision-making bodies comprise only of men. The governing council, which defines the ECB’s monetary policy, includes members of the executive board of the ECB and euro area governors of national central banks.
The executive board which carries out monetary policy and runs the bank day-to-day is headed up by Mario Draghi and vice president Vitor Constancio as well as four other members who are appointed “from among persons of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters…”, according to the ECB.
At the moment, the four board members are Jörg Asmussen, Benoît Cœuré, José Manuel González-Páramo and Peter Praet. There was one female board member, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, who served from 2003 to 2011.

The general council which deals with transitional issues of euro adoption comprises of the ECB president and vice head as well as the governors of all 27 EU national central banks, none of which are women.
“One has to ask why important and influential EU bodies such as the ECB systematically fail to select female candidates,” she said.
“The argument that there are no qualified women for these positions cannot be taken seriously.”
Bowles says experience shows that an approach of always seeking both a male and female candidate eventually brings success. The 58-year-old finds it “intolerable” that no such appropriate strategy has yet been developed.
“I call on all parties to consider the institutional shortcomings that lead to the systematic absence of women in this crucial area of EU policy and to remedy this situation now,” she urged.
The fiery Econ chair has a history of speaking out on controversial European issues including on executive pay and the survival of the euro.
“The European Central Bank should not be a man’s world,” Bowles said.

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