ACCA supports the advancement of women in the accounting profession
ACCA has always been firmly committed to equal opportunity. "Throughout our history we have always provided people with talent and application, with an opportunity, regardless of background, to have access to the accounting profession. In addition, we have always supported initiatives, which support equal opportunity and will remove unnecessary barriers, prohibiting individuals from becoming professional accountants," she reveals.
Kater concedes, however, that senior positions within the profession are still dominated by men, worldwide. "I would like to re-assure our female members that ACCA is firmly committed to promoting equality for women in the financial services. Recognising the importance of lobbying for equality for women in the workplace, ACCA published a position paper entitled: ‘Equality: Women in Financial Services,' in September 2009," she informs.
The position paper urges companies to establish gender-balanced senior management teams. "Research confirms that companies, which promote women into senior management positions, outperform those, which do not. Men and women have complementary leadership styles and sensibilities. These should be harnessed for the organisation's good," Kater contends.
ACCA's position paper encourages organisations to build support programmes and provide access to role models, networks and mentors to assist female colleagues to overcome obstacles to success; to challenge stereotypes through management training and to promote a business case for diversity; to set clear and transparent performance standards and evaluation criteria for promotions; and to provide women with training in leadership, influencing and negotiation skills, equipping them for senior management roles.
Kater says it is important to embrace the fact that women often bring a different world view to the world of work. This adds value and should be celebrated and embraced. She cites the findings of an ACCA study entitled: ‘Female perspectives on the global economy,' as extremely insightful. The research compared the views of male and female ACCA members to confidence and recovery indices in ACCA's quarterly Global Economic Conditions (GECs) survey, which began in February 2009, and released in 2011 as extremely insightful. "The research revealed that female ACCA members are far more critical of responses around the world to the global economic crisis than their male counterparts. They are also likely to be more negative and less trusting of the financial crisis than their male counterparts, and more critical of government handling of financial services firms in terms of regulation, bailouts and other support. Given the current turmoil in financial markets, globally, the views of women should be factored in when making policy decisions," Kater argues.
While paying homage to the important role that women play in the accounting profession in South Africa, Kater says ACCA SA would also like to pay homage to women in general in South Africa: "ACCA applauds women from all walks of life in South Africa. Women in South Africa have become icons worldwide for their resilience, courage and sacrifice in their struggle to create a non-racial, non-sexist South Africa."