Female CAs speak out on International Women’s Day
This International Women’s Day female CAs from diverse backgrounds have spoken out for gender equality.
ICAS President Catherine Burnet CA shared a video message for Members, calling for vigilance that the pandemic does not damage progress towards gender equality, and urging us all to choose to challenge.
From challenge comes change
The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge. The campaign asks us to speak out and question discrimination. The annual event, officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975, has been celebrated every year on 8 March for over a century.
This year ICAS held a virtual event to celebrate and recognise the achievements of female CAs. Chaired by ICAS Executive Director of Standards, Michelle Mullen, the diverse panel included speakers from the sport, fashion and education sectors. Stories of the challenges faced, building self-belief and resilience, and enjoying success were shared.
Also to mark the day we released the latest episode in the CA Agenda podcast, this time focusing discussions on gender equality. Our guest speaker, Sumati Sharma CA, is Partner at Oliver Wyman and Founder and Board Co-Chair for the Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter. In the episode, Sumati talks about a range of topics including gender parity, her work on the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter and the importance of leaders becoming ‘change agents’. Sumati and podcast host Indy Hothi CA also examine the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women’s workplace equality.
Sumati said: “We can all choose to challenge and call out bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate the achievements of women or people from minority backgrounds… Collectively, through this challenge and this pandemic, we can create a more inclusive world.”
Do we still need an International Women's Day?
The World Economic Forum has said it is unlikely that we will see gender parity within our own lifetimes, or within the lifetimes of our children.
In the UK, the gender pay gap among all employees was 15.5% in 2020 and women only hold 34.5% of FTSE 100 board roles. There is also a danger that the coronavirus pandemic could reverse progress made towards increasing gender equality. Recent research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that mothers were 23% more likely than fathers to have become temporarily or permanently unemployed during the pandemic.
It’s an important time to take on the role of challenger.
Championing Unique Perspectives
ICAS recently launched a new campaign profiling its diverse membership. Championing Unique Perspectives aims to:
- raise awareness of the challenges faced on subjects such as race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and age;
- provide employers with ideas and insights on ways they can build open and inclusive workplaces; and
- provide a safe space for CAs to share ideas, experiences and views on equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in general.
Following the creation of the ED+I Committee (formerly the Guthrie Group), ICAS has renewed its focus on promoting ED&I to ensure that the accountancy profession and the wider businesses landscape is accessible to all.
If you’d like more information on our work in this area or are interested in sharing your story as part of the Championing Unique Perspectives Campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.