According to data on the UK accountancy profession the number of qualified female accountants rose from 30 per cent in to 34 per cent between 2006 and 2011 while the percentage of females studying for their accountancy qualifications fluctuated between 48 per cent and 49 per cent. ACCA has a high percentage of both female students and members globally (44 per cent of members and 50 per cent of ACCA students are female).
Commenting on International Women's Day, Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, said: 'Accountancy is often perceived as a male dominated industry, but the number of women in the profession has been rising steadily in recent years.'
Brand continued, 'International Women's Day is a day for celebrating progress, but also recognising what still needs to be done. While these figures are certainly promising, as an industry we must work together to ensure that female talent is nurtured and supported. Despite encouraging numbers of women entering the profession, they are still under-represented in high level positions in the industry. The profession must work together collectively to find ways of helping women reach the more senior positions.'
In December 2012, a report, Women in finance; a springboard to corporate board positions?, commissioned by ACCA and the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) from Cranfield School of Management revealed that a financial qualification or a background which demonstrates substantial financial acumen are seen as catalysts for women getting onto the boards of FTSE companies.
ACCA is committed to diversity in the profession and had the first woman member of any professional accountancy body – Ethel Ayres Purdie, who became a member of ACCA in 1909. ACCA says that with its current student profile, women are set to overtake their male counterparts with 50.7 per cent global membership.