Banker sorry for sex­ist gaffe

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON: Bank of Eng­land deputy gov­er­nor Ben Broad­bent apol­o­gised yes­ter­day for de­scrib­ing Bri­tain’s econ­omy as go­ing through a “menopausal” phrase, a com­ment that was roundly crit­i­cised.

“I’m sorry for my poor choice of lan­guage in an in­ter­view with The Tele­graph yes­ter­day, and re­gret the of­fence caused,” Broad­bent said.

He told The Tele­graph that years of poor pro­duc­tiv­ity and weak wage growth meant Bri­tain was go­ing through a “menopausal mo­ment”.

The for­mer Gold­man Sachs econ­o­mist, among those tipped as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to BoE gov­er­nor Mark Car­ney, who stands down next year, said fi­nan­cial ex­perts used the phrase to de­scribe economies that were “past their peak and no longer so po­tent”.

His com­ments at­tracted de­ri­sion in so­cial me­dia.

“Enough of this pe­jo­ra­tive tosh stig­ma­tis­ing women in their prime,” Con­ser­va­tive law­maker Sarah Wol­las­ton said on Twit­ter.

Robert Pe­ston, po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor of broad­caster ITV, said the com­ments were “sloppy, em­pir­i­cally un­sound and po­ten­tially of­fen­sive”.

In his apol­ogy, Broad­bent said he had been try­ing to ex­plain the word “cli­mac­teric”, a term used by eco­nomic his­to­ri­ans to de­scribe low pro­duc­tiv­ity growth in the nine­teenth cen­tury.

“Eco­nomic pro­duc­tiv­ity is some­thing which af­fects ev­ery one of us, of all ages and gen­ders,” he noted.

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