On 19 July the Association of International Accountants (AIA), were delighted to participate in the North East of England Chamber of Commerce ‘Inspiring Females’ Conference. Now in its sixth year, the conference aims to inspire and connect women in business across the North East of England and beyond, as part of a wider Inspiring Females programme of events.

The Virgin Money sponsored conference took place at Ramside Hall, Durham and featured a range of speakers from business and public life. The event highlighted the success stories of women in business whilst also looking to address and tackle the issues that will help ensure the role of women in business continues to accelerate in the years to come.

During the conference AIA re-iterated their determination and desire to continue working alongside educational establishments, finance and banking sector businesses and other like-minded professional bodies to further promote and drive change with regard gender equality in both the accountancy and wider finance sector.

Following the event, Sharon Gorman, AIA Head of Development, commented: “As an association we work tirelessly on behalf of our members and the wider accounting and finance industry to proactively promote and strive for gender equality.”

This year marks the 100 year anniversary since the first leap forward for gender equality; with The Representation of the People Act being passed giving 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.

Sharon Gorman, added: “Clearly much has changed in the intervening 90 years, to further improve and progress gender equality, but undoubtedly more is still required. An event such as the ‘Inspiring Females’ provides a fantastic platform to discuss and debate current gender related topics with like like-minded individuals and businesses. Ultimately we need have one voice as we move forward to achieve 100% gender equality.”