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December 8, 2022

Do Women in Accounting Really Have More Opportunities Than They Did Ten Years Ago?

The spinmeisters at Bob Half are saying yes: 

The career outlook for women in finance and accounting has improved over the past decade, suggests a new survey from global staffing firm Robert Half. More than four in 10 (42 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said the ability of women in the finance field to advance through the ranks is better now than 10 years ago. 

However, when you get to the table in the press release:

CFOs were asked, "Compared to 10 years ago, in general, are there more or fewer opportunities for women to advance through the ranks in accounting and finance?" Their responses:

Significantly more


Somewhat more


No change


Somewhat fewer


Significantly fewer


Don't know




Isn't that something? And when you consider what "somewhat more" actually means, it's even less convincing. Personally, I imagine the mostly male CFOs taking this survey look at their response options, shrug and mark "somewhat more" because they recall hearing about a woman being a controller somewhere for some company or there is a woman in their organization that has a position that isn't administrative. The survey doesn't tell us anything other than a bunch of random people's (again, mostly men) opinions and that majority of those opinions are that the number of opportunities for women are the same as they were ten years ago.  
And given that the narrative of the "women in accounting" discussion is largely "we need more [in leadership/executive roles, opportunities, etc. etc.]" then you can conclude quite easily that what this survey really suggests is that no progress has been made in the past ten years. I don't think anyone really knows whether that's true or not because we are constantly bombarded with useless surveys like this one, but things certainly don't appear to be getting worse. And that's something. Right?

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