In the Beginning
The first CPA certificate was granted by the state of New York in 1896. Two years later, the degree was granted to a woman for the first time. Until recently, however, the profession remained closed to women. In 1933, nine women CPA’s met in Chicago and formed the AWSCPA. These nine women believed that women CPAs would benefit from knowing each other and discussing mutual problems. In an effort to increase the opportunities for women in accounting, the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) was formed in 1938 under the sponsorship of AWSCPA.
The founder of ASWA was Ida Broo, who organized the first chapter of ASWA in Indianapolis in May, 1938. She felt that it was not the lack of ability among women, but rather the lack of opportunity, that impeded women’s recognition in accounting.
The American Society of Women Accountants was incorporated on July 7, 1953, under the laws of the District of Columbia, and on May 16 1953, the Society was granted exemption from Federal Income Tax under the IRS codes.
Where We Are Now
ASWA, now known as Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, is organized in a chapter system, and there are now over 140 active chapters located throughout the United States. Membership exceeds 8,000 and since 1974, has been open to men.
Through the Educational Foundation of AWSCPA-ASWA, a joint venture with the AWSCPA, we offer career programs which are used by our chapters in their public relations programs for high schools and colleges. Through the publication of various promotional brochures, we are able to disseminate literature about accounting and about our own Society to a wide audience.
Looking to the Future
The spirit which has guided the organization was laid down by its founder when she said: “ASWA (now Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance) impresses its membership with the privileges and the corresponding responsibilities which are theirs to uphold the high standards of, accountancy, to the end that the woman accountant may remain a valued member of an honored profession, worthy of the confidence of the public, and dedicated to its service”.
These principles remain the guideposts of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance as it looks to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.