ACCA marks International Women’s Day

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is offering a special tribute to its first female member, Ethel Ayres Purdie, while celebrating the role of women in accounting as the ACCA marked International Women’s Day on Friday.

ACCA said it was the first professional accountancy body to admit a woman into membership in 1909. Purdie went on to become one of the leading providers of income tax advice to women in the U.K., running the Women’s Taxpayers Agency.

“On International Women’s Day we are paying tribute to our first female member Ethel Purdie, who worked tirelessly to achieve balance in the accountancy profession,” said ACCA chief executive Helen Brand in a statement. “ACCA was established specifically to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds, based solely on their ability.”

ACCA chief executive Helen Brand

ACCA said it was also the first accounting organization to appoint a woman president, Vera Di Palma; a female chief executive, Anthea Rose; as well as a woman from the Asia Pacific region as its president in 2016, Alexandra Chin.

ACCA has a strong commitment to gender diversity, as a professional organization and an employer. The ACCA’s Council of 34 members includes 21 women (or 61 percent). In addition, 55 percent of the ACCA’s senior staff are women and the ACCA’s executive team has a 50/50 balance of men and women. Meanwhile, 46 percent of ACCA members and 56 percent of ACCA students are women.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also providing a call to action for accelerating gender balance. The global theme of International Women’s Day this year is “better the balance, better the world” — #balanceforbetter — reiterating the need for a better working world driven by gender-balance. To mark International Women’s Day, ACCA is hosting its first Ethel Ayres Purdie Lecture, a global webinar to talk about diversity. ACCA has also launched its microsite, which includes interviews and profiles of women ACCA members: www.accaglobal.com/iwd.

“Opportunity and diversity are two of our core values that continue to guide our work today,” said Brand. “We believe that it’s every organization’s responsibility to support diversity and to review and revise the way they support and open up opportunities to women — and indeed all other underrepresented groups. Holding International Women’s Day every year gives us all an opportunity to take stock and make sure we’re all aware, and addressing, any obstacles to better balance in the global workforce.”

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