LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent apologised on Wednesday 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 in a statement.
Broadbent had 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.
“#Menopause only a problem if others try to sideline you because of ignorant prejudice.”
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 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,” he said.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Sarah Young