Skip to main content

In the current global scenario, permeated by marked inequalities, wars and intolerance, the pandemic, in parallel with the sad losses it has imposed on humanity, leaves a harsh but important lesson: solidarity, respect and a priority focus on people, without any discrimination, are conditioning factors for solving the economic, geopolitical, social and environmental problems that afflict humanity. In this scenario, achievements in inclusion and diversity need to be celebrated and expanded, so that we have a more equitable and equal society for all people. The importance of promoting gender equality to advance women's participation in independent auditing cannot be overstated.

Workplaces are environments where people interact frequently in their daily lives, living in close approximation to people different to them. For this reason, organizations have a fundamental role in promoting psychological safety so that everyone feels included, respected and comfortable being who they are at work. Such issues are supported by federal legislation in Brazil: Law 9029/1995 prohibits the adoption of any discriminatory practice for the purpose of access to the employment relationship or its maintenance, whether due to sex, origin, race, color, marital status or age. This position is also ratified by Convention 111 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which contains measures to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, encouraging laws and education programs on the subject.

Given the importance of companies from all sectors in actions to combat intolerance and prejudice, we need to continue working to preserve and expand the achievements. A survey released in 2023 by McKinsey & Company shows that since 2015, the percentage of women in board positions has increased from 17% to 28% and the presence of women in the vice and senior vice presidents has also grown.

However, there is still a lot of room for progress: according to data from the Diversity Guide from the global consultancy Great Place to Work (GPTW) released in 2022, only 26% of senior leadership positions in the best companies to work for were occupied by women in 2021. At other management levels, they held 44% of the positions. Additionally, a study from Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) also released in 2022, indicates that the presence of women in leadership positions in the country is about 37.4%.

The Ibracon – Independent Audit Institute of Brazil, which brings together its member companies and professionals in the segment, has discussed the actions aimed at contributing to an increasing presence of women in the professional ranks and in leadership positions in the accountancy sector, in which progress is being made. Therefore, upon celebrating 50 years of existence in 2021, Ibracon strategically defined the Independent Audit Flags, which guide its actions, including diversity and inclusion strategies. This means that, within the scope of promoting gender equality, it motivates and encourages the inclusion of women, especially in leadership positions.

Some examples of how Ibracon promotes gender equality include the strong commitment Ibracon has from audit firms to tackle the challenge of gender equity. The study “Participation of women in Independent Audit” that Ibracon carried out with associated companies in 2022 shows significant progress. In small and medium-sized businesses, women already make up around 47.4% of the workforce, with 45% in leadership positions (among partners, directors and managers, including significant participation in the corporate structure). In large companies, women occupy 35% of management positions, 45% of directors and 25% of corporate staff. Through increasingly comprehensive internal policies, we present visible evolution, providing better results each year.

It is gratifying to see, according to the survey, the tendency of companies in the sector to further promote the participation of women in leadership and in their governance structures. Seeking to act in a consistent and coherent way with what it advocates, Ibracon has gradually increased the presence of women in leadership positions. As an example, today, they occupy 48% of Ibracon leadership roles, taking into account our technical leaderships at Commissions, Committees and Work Groups.

The growth in the participation of women in firms in the sector and in Ibracon's professional and associate ranks is congruent with the Manifesto for Diversity and Inclusion, launched by the entity at the 11th Brazilian Conference on Accounting and Independent Auditing, in December 2021. And, as is emphasized in the manifesto document, we believe in the power of differences as an agent of global change, causing a relevant and positive impact for stakeholders, as well as society.

To keep these purposes alive, we created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Ibracon in 2021. We invite readers to follow the initiatives and be allies in our work to combat discrimination, intolerance and any forms of prejudice, including actions in defense of gender equality.