Joel Muckett 14 Dec 2017 12:22pm

BoE adopts gender-neutral terms

The Bank of England (BoE) will begin to use gender-neutral terms in its policy documents

Proposals made by the Bank’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) will see the term chair used instead of chairman or chairwoman, and the phrase grandfathering – defined as an exemption from a new law or regulation – replaced with conversion.

The Bank also plans to change how pronouns – such as his or her – are used to refer to individuals.

The PRA said that the proposed changes support its “commitment to encourage equality and diversity at regulated firms”. It added that it expects they will result in “one-off” costs, however these were not likely to be material.

The changes follow criticism over the lack of diversity at the Bank, where Silvana Tenreyro is currently the only woman on its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan told the chancellor in a letter that the BoE should prove “all efforts” were being made to encourage a diverse range of candidates for its senior positions.

She also asked for the publication of data related to the applicants for MPC and Financial Committee membership.

Additionally, the Bank has faced criticism after it was revealed that its gender pay stood at 21% – higher than the national average of 19%.

At the time, BoE governor Mark Carney attributed the gap to more men than women working in top positions, and said the Bank had attempted to improve diversity through methods such as unconscious bias training and blind recruitment panels.