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Women in finance: ACCA inspires change for International Women’s Day

Monday, March 3, 2014

International Women’s Day is being supported by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) by highlighting its thought leadership about diversity issues. The United Nations-organised day is on March 8, and is held in the celebration of the changing attitudes to women’s equality and emancipation. Helen Brand OBE, chief executive, ACCA, said in a statement: “We wholeheartedly support International Women’s Day as it aligns with our core values, particularly those of diversity and opportunity. 


“It is also in keeping with the history of ACCA—in 1909, we were the first accountancy body to give access to women to its membership. We also had the first female president for an accountancy body. 



“In 2014 ACCA’s female membership stands at 45 per cent, while its female students account for 51 per cent. Our extensive work into diversity issues shows that a real commitment to diversity widens the talent pool. The more silo-ed things become, the harder it is to get fresh thinking on matters that affect the finance world. Innovation is key to changing things for the better. The profession has a massive part to play in inspiring change.”


ACCA has produced a number of reports on the broad issue of diversity, and specifically about female representation on boards. These reports have explored how a financial qualification or background influences the career paths of women in a dynamic business landscape. 



The reports include: 
Women in finance: a springboard to corporate board positions? is an ACCA and Economic and Social Research Council-commissioned research project by the Cranfield School of Management. It explored whether have a financial background or qualification affects the likelihood that senior women will obtain a FTSE 100 board directorship.



Much has been written before about the barriers to women’s progression to the highest echelons of the corporate world. This study uniquely focused on the facilitative aspects of financial knowledge and expertise.


In Building a better business through finance diversity, the report looks at insights from leading experts on why diversity in the finance function is important. Strategic issues driving the need for greater diversity is considered, and provides a much broader definition for diversity in the workplace. The report also considers how leading functions can start to build greater diversity across the finance function, and offers a five-step guide to making diversity work for business.


Paving the way to opportunities: women in leadership across the Commonwealth is about six solutions to encourage more women into senior business positions. The report examines what opportunities exist for women across the Commonwealth, how they are able to navigate to positions of power, and how this can be further supported by governments and businesses alike. 


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