Exactly 100 years ago today, on 6th February 1918 The Representation of the People Act was passed, which gave women over 30 and “of property” the right to vote. Only a partial victory for the suffragettes at the time as this represented only 40% of the total female adult population within the UK; but a great first step in the right direction for democracy and equality.

It took a further 10 years of campaigning until in 1928 the Equal Franchise Act was passed providing women with the same voting rights as men. Coincidentally the same year as the Association of International Accountants was founded.

Much has changed in the intervening 90 years, to further improve and progress gender equality, but undoubtedly more is still required.

As the AIA celebrates its 90th anniversary year, we are working closely with AIA Vice-President, Maggie Timoney and other female personnel and council members to further promote and drive gender equality in both the accountancy and wider finance sector.

Maggie Timoney, AIA Vice-President, said: “It is a privilege to be Vice-President for an association that proactively promotes and strives for gender equality; a topic very close to my  heart.

“I strongly believe progress for gender equality has faltered for many years as it threatens the status quo, and changing this has worried men of the establishment.

“The AIA have broken away from this mould and whilst more still needs to be achieved we are certainly moving in the right direction at a pace.

“Currently women make up 25% of AIA council members; already above the industry average, but not a figure we expect to see by the end of 2018 as we anticipate this improving sigificantly. I personally feel this figure can be 50% by 2020. 

“On the flip side, AIA can already boast that women make up over 50% of AIA managerial positions and examiners.”

As an association it is also the AIA’s responsibility to work on behalf of the wider accounting and finance industry to improve gender equality. One way in which AIA are looking to do this is through education to school age children. Today, Sharon Gorman, Head of Development has visited a local secondary school to discuss opportunities available for young women who want to enter the accounting profession.

Head of Development, Sharon Gorman, commented: “Educating younger people in society is an essential element in the process of bridging the gender gap. As an association it is our duty to inform young women of the opportunities available to them as they begin their careers.”