In Recognition of Women’s History Month
Women have made great strides over the last century in the field of accounting, representing a full 61.7% of accountants and auditors in the US, as of 2019. As we enter Women’s History Month, Buchbinder would like to spotlight one group of trailblazing women who opened the door and laid the foundation for others to follow in their footsteps – those who stepped up during WWII.
Like so many other industries that were stimulated by wartime production, demand for auditing and accounting services increased during the war, and the men who would normally fill those roles were headed overseas. Women rose to the challenge and filled roles from which they had been previously excluded.
Firms were now actively recruiting women, and these women exceeded expectations in their new roles. Women had the opportunity to disprove many long-standing biases. It was thought that clients would not respond well to women, that women might not be flexible to work late hours and travel out-of-town, and that women might not perform as well as their male counterparts. All of these were found to be untrue.
As the need for qualified female accountants grew, so did accessibility to the college accounting programs at many colleges, which began to accept women, some for the first time. And with their new access to public accounting experience, more women were able to earn their CPA licenses.
After the war, when many firms reverted back to male-only hiring practices, women held their steam and set a course for continued growth into the future. There were 17,000 female accountants in 1930, but by 1950, there were over 55,000 female accountants and 600 female CPAs.
Buchbinder would like to recognize and thank all of the women who not only answered the call during World War II, but who showed their true worth, shattered glass ceilings, and paved the way for all future women auditors and accountants.
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