CIMA is helping women to close the deplorable gulf in pay and prospects between the sexes.

Author:Glass, George
Position:In business

After the footballing thrills and spills of this summer's World Cup, my trip to southern Africa provided an interesting insight into how CIMA can help organisations to become champions of their own leagues. In Malawi, for example, I met ministers who told me how they have embraced the institute's fundamentals of management accounting and are making great efforts to embed these into public-sector training courses at local and national level.

In Zambia, aside from an invigorating visit to Victoria Falls (during which I got rather wetter than anticipated), I was inspired by the professionalism and energy of the delegates I met at the annual accountancy conference in Livingstone. And in South Africa I learned that a framework is in place to introduce management accounting into both the public and private sectors. The University of South Africa specialises in distance learning and, now that it has received full CIMA accreditation, there will be more opportunities to study the qualification across the whole of the continent.

Wherever I travelled, I was particularly impressed by the female members of the profession. Although they are fewer in number, women such as Chileshe Kapwepwe, deputy minister at Zambia's ministry of finance and national planning; Judith Madzorera, Zimbabwe's accountant-general; and Maryvonne Palanduz, an FCMA and head of retail finance and risk at Metropolitan Holdings in South Africa, are supremely articulate and have real vision about the region's scope for development. With this in mind. I was surprised to learn on my flight home that, while CIMA's most recent salary survey shows that members' earnings are considerably higher than average--particularly in developing countries--it also reveals that male members seem to be earning significantly more than their female equivalents.

Part of this disparity can be explained by the fact that there is a greater number of more experienced male members in CIMA's global community. But this alone cannot fully rationalise the gap. Women now comprise a third of the membership and 44 per cent of students. But they are ten times less likely than their male...

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