Celebrating Women in Accounting

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women as well as a call to action for accelerating gender parity. On this day, Logic School (www.mylogic.online), the pioneer training provider from India in Finance and Accounting, would like to celebrate the contributions of the first women leaders to the accounting profession.

Christine Ross: First woman CPA

New York was the first state to enact licensure legislation in 1896 and gave its first CPA exam in December 1896.  Christine Ross sat for the exam in June 1898 and scored second or third in her group.  Six to 18 months elapsed while state regents delayed her certificate because of her gender.  The publication “Bookkeeper” stated in 1900, “The eleven men who passed the examination at the same time as Christine Ross, got their certificates promptly, but the young woman waited.”  She had completed the requirements and ultimately became the first woman CPA in the United States, receiving certificate number 143 on December 21, 1899 (more than 10 years after taking the exam!).  Ross had actually been practicing accounting since 1889, working for Manning’s Yacht Agency in New York.  Her clients included women’s organizations and wealthy women in fashion and business.

Of course, a woman did not have to be a CPA to work in accounting.  In 1870, the US Department of Labor, Women’s Division, reported that women working as bookkeepers, accountants and cashiers totaled 893 or 2.3% of the total.  By 1900, their number had risen to 74,895 or 29.1% of the total.  In contrast, by 1910 only 13 women were reported to be CPA’s in the US. The movement had begun!

Mary T. Washington

In 1943, Mary T. Washington became the first black woman to become a CPA and the 13th black CPA in the country.  Ms. Washington began her career as an assistant at Binga State Bank in Chicago – one of nation’s largest black-owned banks in the country.  She later earned a business degree from Northwestern University in 1941 and in 1968 she founded Washington, Pittman & McKeever, one of the largest black-owned accounting firms in the nation.

Mary E. Murphy 

A long-lived pioneer, Murphy (1905–1985) lectured, researched and taught in the United States and abroad, retiring in 1973. The Iowa native earned her bachelor of commerce degree with a major in accounting from the University of Iowa in 1927, then obtained a master’s in accountancy in 1928 from Columbia University Business School. In 1938, she received a doctorate in accountancy—only the second woman in the United States to do so—from the London School of Economics.

Following her public accounting stint, she served for three years as the chair of the Department of Commerce at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. Murphy also was an assistant professor of economics at Hunter College of the City University of New York until 1951. In 1952, she received the first Fulbright professorship of accounting, with assignments in Australia and New Zealand. In 1957, she was appointed as the first director of research of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Murphy retired in 1973 from the accounting faculty at California State University.

She published or collaborated on more than 20 books and 100 journal articles and many book reviews and scholarly papers. From 1946 to 1965 she was the most frequently published author in The Accounting Review. Murphy investigated the role of accounting in the economy, made the case for accounting education improvements and paved the way for other aspiring women accountants to prosper. More than half her publications explored international accounting, often advocating standardization. She also emphasized accounting history and biographies.

Dear Ambitious Ladies,  If we have the fire in our belly, let’s follow their footsteps………….



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