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Women in Tax Leaders is a guide to the leading female tax advisers in the world. Inclusion in the Women in Tax Leaders guide is based on a minimum number of nominations received from peers and clients, along with evidence of outstanding success in the past year. Firms and individuals cannot pay to be recommended in this guide.

It is acknowledged that gender inequality is an unacceptable and outdated concept. Judging the ability of a professional – in whatever sphere they happen to operate – by reference to gender, is neither appropriate nor helpful. Despite recent advances in the area of diversity, women account for just 15% of board members of the top S&P 1500 companies. This figure may be the highest it has ever been, but given that women make up roughly half of the population, and of the workforce, it is easy to see that the picture remains skewed.

The amount of women in public accounting firms diminishes by 60% at partner level, according to research from Tax Talent. In 2014, men accounted for 79% of the partnership at Big 4 accounting firms, while females made up 21%. On entry to senior staff, the gender mix is roughly 50-50. Statistics like this show that while the glass ceiling may be higher than ever before, it still exists.

Companies should be keen to smash through this barrier, particularly given that various studies show greater gender balance as directly proportional to better business performance, while research from Wake Forest University and University of North Carolina-Wilmington indicates that diversity in the C-suite leads to more honest financial decision-making. In today's world where transparency and reputation are of central importance to multinational companies, boardrooms cannot afford to take any backward steps. Part of the solution may be staring them in the face.

There is clearly still work to be done to completely eradicate gender bias. An important part of finding parity on gender issues is addressing the historical imbalance. This is part of the motivation for launching International Tax Review's Women in Tax Leaders guide. We want to highlight some of the women making strides in a field traditionally viewed as male-dominated.

This guide also brings you a selection of articles contributed by some of the leading female advisers listed within its covers. These range from tax technical analysis pieces aimed at giving readers a primer on some of the areas these women are excelling in, to insights on the specific impact women are making in the tax advisory practices of law and accountancy firms, as well as tax boutiques.

Matthew Gilleard,

Editor, International Tax Review

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