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At KPMG, we recognize the importance of sharing the stories and achievements of our female leaders to help in shaping the narrative around gender equity and embracing the power of diversity. This year, in honor of International Women’s Day 2021, we wanted to recognize our past, present and future leaders, who have, are, and will be making a difference for future generations by choosing to challenge the status quo in creating a more inclusive and diverse world going forward. Read the stories from Women in Tax & Legal below. 


A note from David Linke, Global Head of Tax & Legal Services

This International Women’s Day, I am taking a moment to reflect on the barriers still to be tackled and to celebrate some of the great women leaders that have influenced me and so many others to do more as a leader. Read more. 



Leaders who paved the way


Ethel Watts

In 1924, Ethel Watts paved the way for thousands of women by becoming the first woman to qualify as an accountant by examination to the ICAEW, and join Peats in the UK – what would eventually become KPMG. As one of only five women ‘taking articles’ in the 1920s, Watts was a pioneer in every sense of the word. She was passionate about social equality and campaigned for it all her adult life, starting her own firm E. Watts & Co, which she led for almost 40 years.  


Mary T. Washington

Nineteen years after Ethel Watts broke gender barriers, in 1943, Mary T. Washington broke racial barriers by becoming the first black female to become a CPA and the thirteenth black CPA in the United States. As a graduate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, her career started off at Chicago’s Douglas National Bank, followed by Binga State Bank – one of Chicago’s prominent black-owned businesses – and she soon became a mentor for many young black professionals as they started their careers. In 1968, Washington founded one of the most prominent black-owned accounting firms, Washington, Pittman & McKeever, leaving her with a legacy that is unmatched. 

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International Women's Day