According to catalyst.org, more than 60% of accountants in the United States are female. They serve as auditors, tax planners, and other accounting functions. Working women are underrepresented in top management in most accounting departments and organizations. In recent years their involvement has increased, but they are still fewer than men.
There is a gender bias that exists in science and mathematics-related fields towards women. The outdated notion that women do not have a head for numbers may be the reason for that. Companies may not be willing to place women in leadership positions because they feel they may not do as good a job as men.
Secondly, many accounting firms were founded and are headed by men who favor other men over their women counterparts. That results in fewer women in leadership roles in those firms.
Also, it is essential to consider that women who are married or have children may have problems working long hours, such as during the night, which some interpret as a lack of dedication.
Clients, who are probably men, may feel women cannot do the job correctly. The company will be unwilling to place a woman in a senior position for fear that they will lose business. That results in women missing out on senior management positions.
Women may not get the right level of career support in the accounting profession. As mentioned above, men head most accounting firms and departments. To rise to leadership, you need to be sponsored by someone in management.
Sponsorship is different from mentorship in that mentorship giving advice and information on a particular career path. It involves a senior member of staff putting their reputation and political advantages on the line to advocate for a candidate. Most men are unwilling to do this for a woman.
Women are continuously looking for people like them in their profession. They are more likely to stay with a firm if there are female partners who have raised children and have families just like they do. These provide motivation and challenge them to get certifications, work harder to get promotions.
If they do not have someone like that to look up to, they may give up or leave the firm. That reduces the chances of women getting promoted to senior positions in the firm.
Solving the Problem
Companies must work on lowering bias and put in incentives for upper management to sponsor female candidates. This way, more women will get opportunities to run accounting firms and inspire others to work toward those positions.
Without companies creating a healthy environment for women to thrive, they will continue having a largely female workforce led by male bosses. That will be bad for morale and lower productivity which is bad for business.
Female accounting professionals are doing well in various companies. Since women are more than men in accounting, then there should be more women in leadership roles.
If they can do the work, they should be allowed a significant opportunity at the decision-making table to shape how the job is done.