Podcast: Canada’s Wilkins on fighting unconscious bias

Carolyn Wilkins on how the Bank of Canada has worked to improve its gender balance

In this month’s episode of the CB On Air: Womenomics podcast, Central Banking spoke to senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, Carolyn Wilkins.

Wilkins discusses the importance of changing internal central bank processes amid increasing diversity within central banks, in the second episode of the series, focusing on changes the Bank of Canada has made to its own HR function.

Changing internal process, Wilkins says, is just as important as changing the attitudes of people. “Our efforts have spanned from how we reach out to universities and recruit, to the makeup of the teams who are recruiting to make sure they include a diverse set of people,” she says.

The Bank of Canada has focused on removing unconscious bias from its processes by providing training for all managers and those working in the human resources department.

Since then, the bank has seen a rise of women hired in the economic and financial sector specialisms from 25% in 2014 to more than 50% in 2017.

Wilkins is proof women can make it to the top. Since joining the Bank of Canada in 2001, she has risen through the ranks to hold top positions in the financial stability, monetary and financial modelling and analysis departments. She has also served as an adviser to the governor’s office.

“One of the things I never really thought about when I began my economics career was that I was going to be a female economist – I always thought I was going to be an economist,” Wilkins say. “It never occurred to me to think of myself any other way.”  


00:00 Intro

01:03 Removing unconscious bias

04:13 Power of words

07:22 Technology takeover

10:54 Risk of not levelling the playing field

14:49 Role models

17:10 Words of wisdom

To hear the full interview, listen in the player above, or download. Future podcasts in our CB On Air: Womenomics series will be uploaded to centalbanking.com. You can also visit the main page here.  

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