Super women: Female high-fliers grab top seats at male-dominated central banks

This year could become a kick-ass year for women in the world of central banking.

Since the start of 2014, women have been slowly, but  surely, ascending the ranks of global central banks.

Earlier this week, 51-year-old Nemat Shafiq, an Egyptian-born economist who has worked for the International Monetary Fund, was appointed by the Bank of England as the deputy governor for financial markets and banking.

As the UK’s Guardian newspaper notes, “Nemat Shafik’s appointment as the deputy governor of the Bank of England will turn her from a relative unknown into arguably the most powerful woman in the City of London.”

The development complements two other interesting appointments at the European Central Bank.

At the start of this year, Frenchwoman Daniele Nouy began her stint as chair of the Supervisory Board of the supervisory mechanism at the ECB. Germany’s 49-year-old Sabine Lautenschlaeger also made the headlines after she joined the until-then all-male executive board of the ECB.

Of course, there is no denying that central banking is still very much a man’s world. But women are gradually overcoming that barrier.

The most high-profile appointment, of course, is that of Janet Yellen, who became the US Federal Reserve’s chairperson in February. She is, undoubtedly, in charge of the world’s most influential central bank.

Nevertheless, Yellen is the only top female central bank head in the developed world;  the developing world fares better when it comes to hiring female heads for central banks.

For instance, Elvira Nabiullina is at the helm of Russia’s central bank (although it is debatable whether Russia is a developed or developing nation). South Africa’s Bank is also headed by a woman, Gill Marcus, while Malaysia also has a female central banker, Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

All in all, there are about a half-dozen female central bankers in big countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and more than a dozen around the world,” notes this New York Times blog post.

Here’s hoping the trend of women taking up more senior and high-profile roles in central banks gains further traction.

[Image Credit]


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