Bank of England regulator to end gendered terms like ‘chairman’
Titles like“chairman” will be swapped for more gender-neutral terms.
The Bank of England plans to end the use of gendered language in policy documents outlining rules for senior bankers, as it battles criticism over a lack of diversity in its own upper ranks.
The Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) said it was using an update to its Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) documents as an opportunity to swap out titles like “chairman” for the more gender-neutral term “chair”.
It has also proposed changing the way individuals are addressed in terms of pronouns like “his/her”, and updating terminology like “grandfathering” – referring to activities or entities that are allowed to continue operating under old rules – to “conversion”.
The changes are expected to result in one-off administrative costs, but the PRA assured “these are not expected to be material”.
“The proposals in this CP (consultation paper) to remove gendered language in the SM&CR form part of the PRA’s commitment to encourage equality and diversity at regulated firms,” the PRA explained.
It comes as the Bank faces mounting pressure to shore up diversity among its own ranks, with Chancellor Philip Hammond being accused of dodging MPs’ questions over whether the Treasury is doing everything in its power to ensure an equal balance of men and women in senior roles at the Bank.
Recently released data also revealed a 21% gender pay gap at the central bank, while the median pay gap came in even higher at 24%.
However, it defended the discrepancy, saying that a higher proportion of men in senior positions means there is a gap in the average hourly earnings.
The Bank, which recently signed the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter targeting greater diversity, had two female members on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) earlier this year.
Charlotte Hogg replaced outgoing MPC member Minouche Shafik this spring, temporarily keeping two women on the committee.
But Ms Hogg failed to declare a conflict of interest, as her brother worked for Barclays, forcing her resignation shortly after her appointment.
Kristin Forbes has since stepped down after completing her own term, leaving recently appointed Silvana Tenreyro the only woman on MPC, while Sir Dave Ramsden filled the other open role.