ICAEW launches inaugural mentorship initiative, Future Female Leaders Programme


ICAEW, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, has launched its inaugural mentorship initiative – the Future Female Leaders Programme – aimed at developing the next generation of female finance leaders in the Middle East. The Inspiring Future Female Leaders Programme pairs prominent women in the finance sector with aspiring members and students, facilitating the exchange of experiences and insights to propel more women into leadership roles.

The Middle East region grapples with gender equality, with the largest gap to close standing at 62.6%, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Gender Gap Report. The gap is particularly pronounced for aspiring female leaders in the finance sector. Globally, women hold just 23% of c-suite level positions in finance, contrasting with 49% representation in entry level positions.

Increasing the number of female finance leaders is beneficial for business and the economy. Studies show that a more balanced share of women, particularly in senior positions, boosts innovation, resilience, and financial performance. It also contributes to greater economic empowerment for women by providing opportunities for career advancement, financial independence, and closing gender gaps in income and wealth.

ICAEW’s Inspiring Future Female Leaders Programme aims to enhance aspiring members’ leadership skills, expand their professional network, and improve their business decision-making skills through confidential group discussions and workshops. Sessions will address challenges for women in the industry, including building a career, leadership, taking risks, resilience, personal branding, work/life balance, and the role of sponsors, coaches and mentors.

Three distinguished mentors have been confirmed for the first cohort:

  • Amanda Line, Entrepreneur and Non-Executive Director
  • Sana Khater, CFO and Board Member
  • Jaimi Raikundalia, Partner, Deloitte

Amanda Line said: “By offering a platform for seasoned female finance leaders to share their experiences and insights to emerging professionals, ICAEW is helping to create a supportive ecosystem where women can empower each other to thrive. It’s through women supporting women in finance that we will move closer to bridging the gender gap within our industry.”

Sana Khater said: “It’s imperative to encourage and enable young women to enter the finance sector with the right toolkit and skillset to thrive in an ever-growing complex, cross-border, and multidisciplinary business landscape where they can confidently add perspective, participate in financial decision making, and lead teams and organisations. ICAEW’s programme is a grass roots initiative focused on fostering the female finance leaders of tomorrow.”

Jaimi Raikundalia said: “The evidence is clear – gender diverse workforces correlate with more profitable companies. Despite increased awareness among corporate and government leaders for diversity as a driver of economic growth, women remain underrepresented in financial sectors. Our research shows that in companies where the CEOs were women, the percentages of women on boards and in senior management were double that of peer companies. That’s why women-led initiatives, like ICAEW’s programme, are essential for driving change at a grassroots level.”

ICAEW’s first Inspiring Future Leaders programme will run from 24 April to 24 July, with limited capacity.