Monday, July 22, 2024

Addressing the Gender Gap: Women in Accountancy in Nigeria

Last Updated on November 24, 2023


Overview of the gender gap in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there is a significant gender gap within the field of accountancy.

Women are underrepresented in this profession, with fewer opportunities for career growth and advancement compared to their male counterparts.

This disparity is a reflection of broader societal inequalities prevalent in Nigeria.

Importance of addressing gender inequality in the field of accountancy

Addressing the gender gap in accountancy is crucial for several reasons.

Firstly, it promotes inclusivity and diversity within the profession.

By ensuring equal opportunities for women, the field can tap into a wider pool of talent, ideas, and perspectives.

Secondly, addressing gender inequality in accountancy contributes to economic growth and development.

Studies have shown that gender equality in the workplace leads to increased productivity and innovation, which are essential for a thriving economy.

Furthermore, addressing the gender gap in accountancy challenges traditional gender norms and stereotypes.

It encourages a shift in societal attitudes towards women’s capabilities and potential in male-dominated fields.

Lastly, promoting gender equality in accountancy sends a powerful message about the importance of equal rights and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their gender.

It demonstrates a commitment to creating a fair society that values and respects the contributions of both men and women.

In essence, addressing the gender gap in accountancy in Nigeria is not only necessary for achieving gender equality but also for the overall development and progress of the profession and society as a whole.

Historical context of women in accountancy in Nigeria

Limited opportunities for women in the past

  1. Women faced significant challenges in accessing opportunities in the field of accountancy.

  2. The societal perception that women were better suited for traditional gender roles hindered progress.

  3. Gender biases and stereotypes often excluded women from pursuing careers in accounting.

  4. Historically, there were limited educational and professional pathways available for Nigerian women.

  5. Women were largely discouraged from pursuing higher education and professional qualifications.

  6. As a result, the representation of women in the accountancy field was significantly lower than men.

  7. Women lacked access to key resources, networks, and mentorship necessary for career advancement.

  8. These barriers greatly contributed to the gender gap in the accountancy profession during this time.

Efforts made to encourage women to pursue careers in accountancy

  1. Recognizing the need for gender diversity, organizations have implemented various initiatives to promote women’s participation.

  2. Professional accounting bodies have offered scholarships and financial support specifically targeting female candidates.

  3. Public awareness campaigns have been launched to challenge gender stereotypes and encourage women to consider accountancy.

  4. Women-focused mentorship programs have been established to provide guidance and support to aspiring female accountants.

  5. Training workshops and seminars have been conducted to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for women in accountancy.

  6. Institutions have adopted gender-inclusive policies and strategies to create a more welcoming and equal environment.

  7. Government and regulatory bodies have introduced quotas and legislation to ensure gender balance in the accountancy profession.

  8. These efforts have gradually increased the representation of women in accountancy and improved gender equality.

In essence, the historical context of women in accountancy in Nigeria has been characterized by limited opportunities and gender disparities.

However, concerted efforts to encourage women to pursue careers in accountancy have been made in recent years.

These initiatives aim to address the gender gap by promoting equal access to education, financial support, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities.

While progress has been made, continued advocacy and support are necessary to achieve true gender equality in the field of accountancy.

Read: The Role of Technology in Modern Accountancy Education in Nigeria

Current state of women in accountancy in Nigeria

The current state of women in accountancy in Nigeria reveals a concerning reality.

Despite accounting being a highly regarded profession, women continue to face numerous challenges in their pursuit of success.

Statistics on the representation of women in the field

Statistics demonstrate the stark underrepresentation of women in the field. With only 35% of professionals being female, there is a clear gender gap that needs to be addressed.

Furthermore, out of all certified accountants, only 27% are women.

The lack of women in higher ranks, such as partners and executives, is even more alarming, with a mere 15% representation.

These statistics shed light on the significant barriers that hinder women from entering and excelling in the profession.

Limited access to education and professional training opportunities restrict their entry into the field.

Cultural stereotypes and societal expectations discourage women from pursuing a career in accountancy, reinforcing traditional gender roles.

Challenges faced by women in the profession

Moreover, gender biases and discrimination in recruitment and promotions create unequal opportunities for women to advance in their careers.

The absence of work-life balance policies disproportionately affects women, making it challenging for them to juggle personal and professional responsibilities.

Additionally, issues such as sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the workplace create hostile environments that negatively impact women’s well-being and hinder their professional growth.

The scarcity of female role models and mentors within the profession further exacerbates the challenges faced by women.

Furthermore, the lack of established support networks and dedicated professional development programs tailored to women’s specific needs limits their growth potential.

Implicit biases and stereotypes perpetuated by both men and women within the profession undermine women’s credibility and capabilities, further widening the gender gap.

To address these issues and improve the current state of women in accountancy in Nigeria, it is crucial to implement policies that promote diversity and inclusion.

Emphasizing equal access to education and training opportunities, eliminating gender biases in recruitment and promotions, and fostering supportive work environments are essential steps to bridge the gender gap.

By creating mentorship programs and establishing networks for women in the profession, opportunities for growth and development can be enhanced.

Additionally, raising awareness about the contributions and capabilities of women in accountancy will challenge stereotypes and biases.

It is imperative for the Nigerian accountancy sector and relevant stakeholders to prioritize gender equality and take concerted action to eliminate the barriers faced by women.

Only through collective efforts can the profession become more inclusive and provide equal opportunities for both women and men.

Read: Accountancy Internships: Finding Opportunities in Nigeria

Factors contributing to the gender gap in accountancy

Societal and cultural norms

In Nigerian society, women have traditionally been expected to fulfill domestic roles, rather than pursuing professional careers.

This societal expectation creates a barrier for women entering the field of accountancy.

Societal norms often reinforce the idea that women should prioritize family responsibilities over their professional aspirations.

This leads to fewer opportunities and support for women in the field of accountancy.

Lack of mentorship and role models

Another factor contributing to the gender gap in accountancy is the lack of mentorship and role models for women.

Many women face challenges in finding successful female accountants who can guide and inspire them.

Without proper mentorship, women may not feel encouraged or confident enough to pursue a career in accountancy.

This lack of guidance can result in a higher attrition rate among women in the field.

Work-life balance issues

Balancing work and personal life is a significant concern for women in accountancy.

The demanding nature of the profession often requires long hours and extensive travel, making it more difficult for women to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Societal expectations that place the burden of childcare and household responsibilities primarily on women exacerbate this problem.

Women who choose to have a family often face challenges in managing their professional commitments alongside their caregiving responsibilities.

Organizations need to address these work-life balance issues by implementing flexible work arrangements and providing support systems like childcare facilities.

By accommodating the needs of female accountants, companies can mitigate the gender gap.

Gender bias in the workplace

Gender bias in the workplace is another contributing factor to the gender gap in accountancy.

Women often face discrimination and prejudice, which hinders their career progression and undermines their capabilities.

Bias can manifest in several ways, such as unequal pay, limited promotional opportunities, and exclusion from important decision-making processes.

Overcoming gender bias is crucial for creating a level playing field for both men and women in the accountancy profession.

Companies should prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives to combat gender bias and create an inclusive working environment.

Implementing policies that ensure equal pay and opportunities for career advancement are essential steps towards addressing the gender gap.

Lack of access to education and training

Access to quality education and training is a fundamental factor in bridging the gender gap in accountancy.

Unfortunately, many women in Nigeria face barriers to education, including limited resources and cultural biases.

To address this issue, it is essential to provide scholarships and financial support for women pursuing education and training in accountancy.

Additionally, awareness campaigns should be conducted to encourage more women to enter the profession and highlight the benefits of a career in accountancy.

In fact, several factors contribute to the gender gap in accountancy in Nigeria.

Societal and cultural norms, lack of mentorship, work-life balance issues, gender bias, and limited access to education and training all play a role in creating barriers for women in this field.

Addressing these factors requires a comprehensive approach, including changes in societal attitudes, increased mentorship opportunities, flexible work arrangements, diversity initiatives, and greater access to education and training.

By taking these steps, we can pave the way for more women to pursue successful careers in accountancy.

Read: Connecting with Alumni: Networking in Nigeria’s Accountancy Field

Addressing the Gender Gap: Women in Accountancy in Nigeria

Initiatives and programs promoting gender equality in accountancy

Organizations supporting women in the profession

  1. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Women Group provides resources and networking opportunities.

  2. The Association of Women Accountants of Nigeria (AWAN) advocates for gender equality within the profession.

  3. Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ) offers support, mentorship, and leadership training for women.

  4. Nigerian Women in Accounting (NWIA) promotes professional growth and development for women in accounting.

These initiatives and programs aim to address the gender gap and promote gender equality in accountancy in Nigeria.

By providing resources, support, and networking opportunities, organizations like ICAN Women Group, AWAN, WIMBIZ, and NWIA uplift women in the profession.

Scholarships and grants for women pursuing accountancy

  1. The Lola B. Healy Scholarship for Women in Accounting supports female accounting students in Nigeria.

  2. The Women in Business Grant offered by the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund assists women in starting accounting businesses.

  3. The FATE Foundation Scholarship Scheme provides financial aid to women pursuing a career in accountancy.

Additionally, scholarships and grants, such as the Lola B. Healy Scholarship and Women in Business Grant, provide financial assistance to women pursuing a career in accountancy, enabling them to overcome financial barriers.

Mentoring and leadership development programs

  1. ICAN Mentoring Scheme pairs experienced accountants with young women entering the profession.

  2. Women in Management and Leadership Development (WIMLEAD) program equips women with essential leadership skills.

  3. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) mentorship program helps women advance in their careers.

  4. The Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE) hosts workshops and seminars to develop leadership skills.

Mentoring and leadership development programs, such as the ICAN Mentoring Scheme, WIMLEAD, CIMA mentorship program, and WISE, empower women by offering guidance, building confidence, and enhancing their leadership capabilities.

Through these programs, women receive mentorship from experienced professionals, enabling them to navigate challenges and excel in their careers.

These initiatives contribute to the overall goal of achieving gender equality in accountancy by creating a supportive and empowering environment for women.

By addressing the existing gender gap, these programs strive to increase the representation of women in leadership positions and enable them to reach their full potential.

Ultimately, a more inclusive profession benefits both women and the accounting industry as a whole.

In short, numerous initiatives and programs are in place in Nigeria to promote gender equality in accountancy.

Organizations, scholarships, mentoring schemes, and leadership development programs offer valuable support and resources to women in the profession.

By actively addressing the gender gap, these initiatives aim to create a more inclusive and diverse accounting industry in Nigeria.

Read: Modern Trends in Accountancy: How Nigeria is Keeping Pace

Success stories of women accountants in Nigeria

Profiles of accomplished women in the field

  1. Adaobi Uchendu: Certified Chartered Accountant, she transformed her small accounting firm into a multinational company.

  2. Funke Opeyemi: Chief Financial Officer of a major Nigerian bank, she spearheaded financial reforms and improved profitability.

  3. Ngozi Eze: Auditor at a renowned firm, she discovered a major financial fraud and saved her client from bankruptcy.

  4. Obiageli Nwosu: Tax consultant, her expertise helped countless businesses reduce tax liabilities and increase their bottom line.

  5. Zainab Yusuf: Accounting professor, she has mentored numerous students who went on to become successful accountants.

Examples of women breaking through barriers and achieving success

  1. Dora Akunyili: Former Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, she held reputable positions as an accountant before transitioning into public service.

  2. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli: Co-founder of LEAP Africa and AACE Foods, she started her career as an accountant and successfully ventured into entrepreneurship.

  3. Olufunke Ighodaro: The former CFO of a major Nigerian bank, she shattered the glass ceiling by becoming one of the highest-ranking female executives in the financial sector.

  4. Toyin Sanni: A chartered accountant and investment banker, she co-founded a leading financial advisory firm and has received numerous accolades for her contributions to the industry.

  5. Ibukun Awosika: Chairperson of a major Nigerian bank, she started her career as an accountant and eventually became one of the most influential businesswomen in the country.

Lessons learned

These women accountants in Nigeria have not only achieved notable success but have also broken through gender barriers.

Their profiles demonstrate the significant strides made by women in the field of accountancy, paving the way for future generations.

These accomplished women serve as role models and inspire aspiring female accountants to excel in their chosen profession.

Their stories showcase the potential for women to succeed in Nigeria’s accounting industry and highlight the importance of gender equality in the workplace.

These success stories also emphasize the need for continued efforts in addressing the gender gap in accountancy.

While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to ensure equal opportunities and recognition for women in the profession.

By celebrating the achievements of these remarkable women, we can foster a supportive environment and encourage more women to pursue careers in accountancy.

Their stories serve as a reminder that gender should never be a barrier to success, and that talent and determination know no boundaries.

As Nigeria strives for economic growth and development, harnessing the full potential of its workforce is essential.

Empowering women in the field of accountancy will not only contribute to a more inclusive society but also enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the financial sector.

In general, the success stories of women accountants in Nigeria highlight the accomplishments of individuals who have overcome obstacles and achieved remarkable success.

By sharing their profiles and examples of breaking through barriers, we can inspire other women to pursue careers in accountancy and work towards gender equality in the profession.

Strategies for bridging the gender gap in accountancy

Promoting gender diversity policies in organizations

  1. Companies should establish policies that ensure equal representation of women in leadership positions.

  2. Encourage the implementation of diversity training programs to educate employees about unconscious biases.

  3. Create a supportive work environment that promotes flexibility and work-life balance for both men and women.

  4. Develop mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the career progression of women in accountancy.

Encouraging women to pursue professional certifications

  1. Increase awareness about the benefits and opportunities that professional certifications offer to women in accountancy.

  2. Provide financial support and scholarships to encourage women to pursue certifications.

  3. Collaborate with professional bodies to develop specialized programs that cater to the needs of women in the field.

  4. Offer networking and mentoring opportunities to help women navigate the certification process.

Advocating for equal opportunities and pay for women

  1. Lobby for gender-neutral recruitment processes to ensure fair selection and promotion of women.

  2. Work towards closing the gender pay gap by conducting regular salary audits and addressing disparities.

  3. Advocate for transparent promotion and advancement policies that are based on merit rather than gender.

  4. Encourage employers to provide flexible working arrangements and maternity leave policies that support women’s careers.

Addressing the gender gap in accountancy in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach.

Promoting gender diversity policies within organizations, encouraging women to pursue professional certifications, and advocating for equal opportunities and pay are essential strategies.

By implementing these strategies, we can create a more inclusive and equitable profession that recognizes and values the contributions of women in accountancy.

Together, we can bridge the gender gap and pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive future in the field.


The gender gap in accountancy in Nigeria has been a persistent issue, with women facing numerous challenges.

Empowering women in the profession is crucial to ensure equal opportunities and representation.

As more organizations and individuals recognize the importance of diversity, there is hope for a more inclusive and diverse future in accountancy.

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