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In 1896, New York issued the first official qualification test for certified public accountants. Three years later, Christine Ross, who was born in Nova Scotia, became the first certified female accountant in the United States. For years after Ross gained her certificate, it was tough for women to enter the field.

As of 1983, women began to gain ground in the profession, making up 39% of accountants in the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2012, 60% of accountants were women. That's not to say that all hurdles have been removed -- as of 2011, only 21% of partners at accounting firms were women, according to a 2012 report from Catalyst.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated March 11 2013 09:38 AM ET
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