In a recent episode of The Woodard Report podcast, I spoke with Michelle Mitchell, founder of Mitchell Consulting Service, speaker, and educator in the accounting industry. Our conversation explored the current state of gender parity within the accounting profession. It offered insights into the challenges ahead and opportunities for women in our profession to push the needle forward.
Global Gender Parity and Entrepreneurship: A Look at the Numbers
The statistics presented offer an informative overview of the current state of gender parity and entrepreneurship. According to the World Economic Forum, the global gender parity rate stands at 68.6%. We noted that as of the 2023 WEF report, the US isn't even in the top 10 nations in the world leading in gender parity (we're #43). Read the full report here.
Despite ongoing challenges in achieving full gender parity in business leadership, the accounting profession shows notable progress, with women now holding 39% of partnership positions in U.S. CPA firms, a significant rise from 23% two years prior, according to this article published by the Illinois CPA Society.
The landscape of female entrepreneurship has seen significant changes. Over the past two decades, there has been a 114% increase in female entrepreneurs in the United States. Particularly noteworthy is the 518% increase in minority women business owners during the same period. These figures indicate a growing presence and influence of women, including minority women, in the entrepreneurial sector.
Empowering the Next Generation and Knowing Your Worth
Michelle Mitchell, with her firm Mitchell Consulting, is at the forefront of empowering women entrepreneurs. Her "Passion to Profit" program is a testament to the importance of bridging knowledge gaps and nurturing confident leaders. As Michelle aptly puts it,
"Women impact the next generation... they are gaining the small little intricacies of empowerment because you're their mother, and you run your own business." - Michelle Mitchell
The role of mentorship and creating safe spaces cannot be overstated. As Michelle emphasizes,
"We need to make a safe space for our younger counterparts so that we can bring them along with us and teach them the lessons that we have learned." -Michelle Mitchell
This approach is crucial in dismantling systemic barriers that women in accounting often face, such as pay disparities and underrepresentation in leadership roles.
One of the most empowering aspects of our conversation was the focus on building confidence and self-worth. Michelle advises,
"As the leader of a small business, in your offers to your new clients...stand firm in that. And maybe you just have the wrong client in front of you." -Michelle Mitchell
This mindset is essential for women to recognize and assert their value, especially when setting rates for their services. Whether you own a firm or work in one, believe in the value you bring to your firm, your clients, and the profession.
A Call to Action
I invite you to listen to the full podcast episode below to learn about Michelle's journey in the profession and how we can do our part to close the gender parity gap in the profession and society. Michelle will also be speaking about the art of delegation at Scaling New Heights in Orlando this coming June 2024! Make sure to subscribe to the Woodard Report Podcast on your favorite podcast platform!