VERA DI PALMA, the first woman to be elected as president of ACCA, has died at the age of 83.
Tributes have been made by the organisation to the woman who made ACCA history in 1971 when she became the first female council member and again in 1980 when she was elected ACCA’s first female president. She was awarded an OBE in 1997 for public service.
In a 2009 interview, di Palma said: “When I qualified in 1956, the profession was heavily male dominated and there were hardly any women.”
After a decade as an accountant, she and some female ACCA members decided it was time for change, and she was among the founders of the Certified Accountants Women’s Society in 1965.
“Back then, there still weren’t many women in the profession and girls weren’t encouraged to consider it at school, so it was helpful to have a group through which female ACCA members could support each other and encourage the next generation of female accountants. Members of the society visited schools to talk about accountancy as a career, which was very well received,”she said.
ACCA’s chief executive Helen Brand, said: “ACCA has always led the way in diversity, and much of that is down to pioneering and inspirational people like Vera. She opened the door for many young women to succeed in finance and accountancy, and the fact that nearly half our membership and more than 50% of our student body are women is a fitting tribute to her legacy.”
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