Deputy Bank of England (BoE) Governor Ben Broadbent has apologised for comments in which he referred to the British economy as ‘menopausal’.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Broadbent described the UK economy as ‘menopausal’, as it was past its peak productivity.
Specifically, Mr Broadbent explained the term “climacteric” used by economists, which he said means “menopausal, but can apply to both genders. You’ve passed your productive peak.”
The comments prompted outrage, with many reprimanding his choice of words as discriminatory against women.
The BBC’s Scotland Editor tweeted:
Is it just me, or is using “menopausal” to describe the economy deeply sexist and insulting? Apparently it describes economies “past their peak and no longer potent”. Words fail me https://t.co/F3dCBGD0In
— sarah smith (@BBCsarahsmith) May 16, 2018
Similarly, ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston took to twitter to say:
Sloppy, empirically unsound and potentially offensive use of language by Bank of England deputy governor. There is no reason to think menopausal people are less productive or past their peak in any sense other than the bleedin’ obvious one https://t.co/g7pplOyNHi
— Robert Peston (@Peston) May 15, 2018
In light of the controversy, Mr Broadbent released the following statement:
“I’m sorry for my poor choice of language in an interview with the Telegraph yesterday and regret the offence caused. I was explaining the meaning of the word ‘climacteric’, a term used by economic historians to describe a period of low productivity growth during the nineteenth century. Economic productivity is something which affects every one of us, of all ages and genders.”
Mr Broadbent, a former Goldman Sachs economist, has held his position at the Bank of England since 2013.
The Bank of England recently came under fire for revealing a 24 percent pay gap, after having been forced to reveal its figures as part of a new government initiative to combat wage inequality between the sexes.
In response to the figures, the bank released a statement on its intention to take appropriate measures to redress the imbalances.
The bank said:
“We are working hard to address this imbalance through inclusive and diverse recruitment, including diverse shortlists and interview panels, offering flexible working, providing continual unconscious bias training, and fostering an inclusive culture.”
The bank attributed the gap to the higher proportion of males in senior roles compared to the women.