Turn the clock back some 50 years, and you'll find that there were only 750 female CPAs. Fast-forward to 1972, and that total had increased to 2,000.Last year, the American Institute of CPAs had 106,000 female members, and in public accounting, the number of female CPAs with membership in the institute was roughly 41,000.

Even before Gay Bryant coined the term "glass ceiling" in a March 1984 article in the publication Adweek, researchers had debated why women seldom reached the highest ranks in business.

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