FDs say profession is failing to plug the gender gap

Link: Just one in 10 partners female

Accountancy is falling behind other professions in terms of equal opportunities for women in senior positions, and firms are not doing enough to help redress the balance.

This week’s Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Big Question found that over half the FDs surveyed felt that not enough action was being taken by accountancy firms to open up opportunities for women at partner level.

By comparison, only one in five felt women had an equal footing when applying for a partnership.

The results follow last month’s publication of Accountancy Age’s annual Top 50 table, which showed for the first time that only one in 10 partners in the UK’s biggest firms is female.

Although the problem is also recognised in other industries, figures from the Law Society for 2002 showed that the total number of women partners were 6,043 out of a total of 28,995.

At 20.8%, this is over double the proportion of female partners in the accountancy profession.

‘If you want to have a career as a woman, you do have to be prepared to do more,’ Claire Ighodaro, president of CIMA, said this week.

Worryingly, some have detected a deterioration in equal opportunities recently. Writing exclusively for Accountancy Age this week, Equal Opportunities chair Julie Mellor urges firms to do more.

‘It used to be better, but things have got a lot worse over the last 10 years,’ said one Big Question respondent.

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