The German central bank is quite fond of blaming feckless Greeks and lazy Italians for the Eurozone crisis. This week, however, the Bundesbank set its sights on another foe.
Women are now the targets. The inclusion of females on banking executive boards ‘leads to a more risky conduct of business’, according to a study released by the Frankfurt-based institution. ‘A higher proportion of female board members significantly increases risk-taking’ and were thus a contributing factor to the crisis, the report said.
A controversial statement by any measure - particularly considering women are often famed for their prudent, risk-averse nature. And it is one that flies in the face of political efforts to increase female representation in the top echelons of business and banking.
The findings, based on analysis of bank executive teams in Germany from 1994 to 2010, state that female executives tend to be ’significantly less experienced’ than their male colleagues. And inexperience leads to trigger happy decisions when it comes to risk-taking.
Moreover, the report argues that the presence of women tends to break up camaraderie at the board level. Men are more straight-laced, it seems, when there is a lady about. Top buttons remain pinned. And the bawdy jokes get shelved.
It comes as no surprise that the report has drawn fire from all corners of political and corporate life. Even the Bundesbank has been keen to distance itself from the report’s authors, stating that the report ‘does not necessarily reflect the views of the Deutsche Bundesbank or its staff’.
No wonder. Its deputy president, also a member of its six person executive board, is Sabine Lautenschläger. She happens to be a woman.