AICPA's Women's Leadership Summit pushes for equality

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The AICPA held its Women’s Global Leadership Summit in San Diego from Nov. 6-8, 2019, in which hundreds of female professionals across the U.S. and Canada participated in a range of sessions focused on growing their skills as leaders in the profession.

Three main themes emerged from this year's gathering: more women must be promoted to leadership positions; barriers (such as a lack of role models within organizations and gender favoritism in promotions) that hinder female representation must be addressed; and all professionals have a duty to close the gender gap.

AICPA surveys have found that the number of women entering the profession has risen over the last 40 years, with women now comprising just over half (51 percent) of new hires (compared to 33 percent in 1980). Despite more women entering the profession than men, less than one-quarter (23 percent) of accounting partners are currently women.

A McKinsey study of U.S. companies also found that those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to outperform the national industry median. Among the reasons cited for the stronger performance of more gender-diverse organizations were a wider talent pool, stronger customer orientation, and better decision-making.

Speakers at the summit included Olympic athlete Lindsey Vonn; Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first female on-field official; and AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon, among many others.

Olivia Kirtley, the first of five female chairs in the history of the AICPA, was also presented at the summit with the inaugural American Woman's Society of CPAs' Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 2020 Women’s Global Leadership Summit will be held Nov. 10-12, 2020, in Miami. More information is available from the AICPA's site here.

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Gender issues Diversity and equality AICPA
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