Women advancing in CA profession


Chartered accountants (CA) have reputation worldwide as professionals and the number of women in this profession is also increasing.

There are a total of 2,100 chartered accountants in the country, of which 137 are women, according the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB).

Sources said there were 78 chartered accountants during the establishment of ICAB in Bangladesh in 1973. However, Bangladesh had to wait till 1989 for the first female CA.

The name of the first female CA of the country is Suraiya Jannat, who is now the chief financial management specialist at the headquarters of the World Bank.

Meanwhile, 39 years after the establishment, Parveen Mahmud was elected as the first female president of ICAB in 2011. She is also the chairperson of ShaSha Denims Limited and UCEF Bangladesh at present.

According to the data analysis of ICAB, till 1999, there were only eight female chartered accountants in the country. The number jumped to 28 by 2009. However, the number of female chartered accountants climbed to 85 by 2014. Currently, there are 137 chartered accountants in the country.

In 2008, ICAB’s former president ABM Azizuddin created a chance for the female students at his own organisation – “Eknabin”. 2011 and 2012 were two significant years for the female chartered accountants.

Parveen Mahmud became the first female president of ICAB during the period. Not only that, she also represented the board of South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) as the first Bangladeshi. In 2012, a maximum number of 24 females became CAs. Where the number of female CAs was 40 in 2011, it climbed to 64 within a year.

Parveen Mahmud told Prothom Alo, “The number of female CAs may seem low on the eve of the golden jubilee of independence. The number is not too uncomfortable either. Earlier, the student feared that it would take a long time to be a CA. Now the time has changed. Women are also coming into this profession now-a-days.”

Another significant year for the female chartered accountants in the country is 2021. ICAB vice-president Maria Howlader has become the chairperson of the Women Leadership committee of SAFA this year. She is also the first Bangladeshi to hold this post. Before that, the Indians were in the charge of this post generally.

Speaking to Prothom Alo Maria Howlader said, “Salary of CA starts with a six digit number. For women who want to be independent, there is no better job than this.” Mentioning that a total of 12 thousand chartered accountants are needed in the country at the moment, she said that the ICAB is now encouraging more women in this profession.

According to ICAB, the first female comptroller of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Bangladesh, Sanjid Kasem is now a shareholder of Kasem and Company.

Shama Rukh Alam passed CA from Canada in 1984 and now she is the financial director of Duncan Brothers Bangladesh. Minara Begum is the first Bangladeshi woman to complete the CA course, who is also a freedom fighter. She was the financial director of Titas Gas when she retired.

The first female CA of the country Suraiya Jannat told Prothom Alo that the country is advancing, so are the women. Women could move even further in this profession, if there was any government support.

However, the contribution of ICAB is more important than the government initiatives in this case. Obviously government support is needed, but ICAB has to play the main role here. The ICAB should conduct awareness campaigns in the universities about the importance of the profession of a CA if needed.