July 07, 2024

AIDWA Condemns Misogyny at ICAI

THE All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) sent letters to the Institute of the Charted Accounts of India (ICAI) and to the finance ministry on July 2, condemning the misogynist act at the ICAI Kolkata conference and demanded stern action. 

AIDWA expressed anguish over a shameful incident during the recent conference of the ICAI in Kolkata. According to media reports, female participants and volunteers were instructed to move back five rows by an ICAI representative in anticipation of the arrival of the chief guest Swami Gyanvatsalya from the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir. In a viral video from the conference, the announcer is heard saying "No ladies, no girls, no girl volunteers in sight, folks! Hustle up, he's on his way!” This shameful attempt to please the chief guest by succumbing to his insulting, anti-women order is disgusting.  No protests on the same have been reported during the conference, with the ICAI president finally on July 1 coming out with promises to investigate this “unfortunate incident” and taking remedial action for the future. 

This brazen display and acceptance of misogyny during an international conference organised by one of the premier institutions of the country is deeply disturbing. As per the reporting of the Economic Times, 2024, female chartered accountants now make up to 30 per cent of the total membership in the profession, a significant section. Such incidents are discouraging for women participating in public spaces in general but particularly in professions such as the CA which have been historically male-dominated. In a situation when women are shifting the scenario with their own merit and credibility, institutionalising Manuwadi prejudice against women is disastrous. It is also an important question on why such a representative from a religious institution with gender bias was invited as a chief speaker on a public platform of ICAI, which is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament.

The finance ministry must immediately intervene in the matter and take strict action against the promotion of such derogatory conduct. AIDWA demands that ICAI condemns the act of removing women participants and organisers from front rows and takes immediate action against the committee member(s) for compliancy. AIDWA also demands that the institute issue a public apology not only to all women of the institute but to women across India who were demeaned by this action. Immediate steps must be taken to restore the faith of female practitioners in gender equality as the guiding principle of this esteemed institution.