The European Investment Bank (EIB), based in Luxembourg, has had complaints about gender diversity and obstacles for career advancement for women for several years.
The European edition of Politico, an American pubication, reported on Friday 25 August that:
“The bank employs about 2,900 people, and women make up about half of the EIB administration, according to internal data. But just one in four senior managers and 28 percent of middle managers are women. On the EIB’s board of directors, which has one appointee from each of the 28 EU member countries and one from the Commission, eight seats are occupied by women (there is currently one vacancy), but there is not a single woman on the management committee, the EIB’s senior executive body.”
In 2015, over 300 employees signed an open letter to Werner Hoyer, president of the economic development bank, calling the lack of gender diversity a “worrying and persistent trend.”
The European Parliament adopted the same year a resolution which stated that the EP:
“regrets the lack of diversity in the management committee, the board of governors and the board of directors of the EIB, in particular with regard to gender; calls upon the EIB to implement the spirit of the Capital Requirements Directive, Article 88(2) of which obliges banks to ‘decide on a target for the representation of the underrepresented gender in the management body and prepare a policy on how to increase the number of the underrepresented gender in the management body in order to meet that target. The target, policy and its implementation shall be made public.”
The EIB was reprimanded in July by the EU general court for impeding the promotion of a female employee, Nathalie Dessi, despite a recommendation from her supervisor. The court said the EIB “had wrongly interpreted” its own rules. Another investigation concerns alleged gender discrimination, which has been brought to the European Ombudsman.
Several women, which spoke to Politico anonymously:
“These employees described a paternalistic work environment with cases of women being ‘discouraged to apply for jobs at the EIB because they have family issues,’ or even more overt sexism ranging from ‘remarks on the physical appearance of female interns to people saying about a woman who has just been appointed manager, ‘she’s been appointed because she’s a woman.’’”
Hoyer said in a press statement sent to Delano on Tuesday:
“In my first mandate as EIB President we have made progress within the EU Bank, for example in the promotion rates between male and female staff but I know this progress is not nearly enough. I have just been confirmed for a second mandate and during this time I will make the issue a priority.”
Matteo Maggiore, head of communication at the EIB, told Delano on 29 August:
“We are proud that in 2016 we saw a steady improvement continue in terms of gender balance--in promotion rates and performance recognition--between our female and male employees. We have taken a number of steps recently to support the promotion of women in senior positions within the EIB Group resulting in 25% of senior management positions by mid-2017 being held by women, up from 23% in 2016 and from 17% in 2011. We’ve seen a similar result achieved at middle management level where women represent today 28% vs. 26% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.”
The EIB also adopted its first strategy on “gender equality and women empowerment” in December 2016.
A gender action plan aimed at guiding implementation will be elaborated over the course of 2017, defining the milestones, prioritisation and phasing of activities.
The EIB recruitment policy further “explicitly encourages women and candidates with disabilities to apply for posts; and all EIB Group managers are incentivized and are currently being trained on diversity and inclusion matters. Before the end of 2017, we are launching a new course for all managers to address the issue of unconscious bias when it comes to gender and diversity in recruitment and promotion practice.”