Gender Issues In Accountancy Social Work Essay

Amongst other ethical issues, the indicant is that gender equality has been a major concern for authoritiess and equality militants for such a long clip. The UK authorities for illustration has had a formidable history of developing and ordaining ordinances to extenuate favoritism within the UK society. These anti favoritism Torahs amongst others have included ; Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability favoritism Act 1995, Employment Equality ( Religion or Belief ) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality ( Sexual Orientation ) Regulations 2003, the Employment Equality ( Age ) Regulations 2006 and the Equality Act of 2010. All these ordinances are developed on the back bead of keeping a fairer society for all.The history of gender inequality can be traced back for many centuries. There are indicants even in the Bible ; the creative activity of adult male in Genesis the first book of the Bible, that adult male was made foremost ( from dust ) and adult female was created from adult male ‘s rib ( Alter, 1997 ) .

The layman uses this illustration to warrant inequality between adult male and adult female. The term ‘gender ‘ does non needfully mention to sex ( male or female ) . It has been used in several contexts in different Hagiographas. Sometimes, ‘gender ‘ has been accorded a deeper significance than merely ‘biological sex ‘ ( Udry, 1994 ) . Udry ( 1994 ) traces the contextualization of the word to the sexologist, John Money, who differentiated between ‘sex ‘ and ‘gender ‘ accenting that ‘gender ‘ referred more to a societal function and a behavioural feature.This essay nevertheless does non dig into the elaboratenesss of ‘gender ‘ definition. For simpleness gender here is mostly attributed to biological sex ( male or female ) . The focal point will be on the inequalities borne by the female gender and the issues that adult females in the field of accounting face.

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Accountancy in this essay is regarded both as a field of survey ( the survey of accounting ) and a profession ( accounting pattern ) . The focal point will mostly be on accounting as a profession although mentions and penetrations will be drawn from accounting as a field of survey to develop, support and farther the statement.The work is structured into 6 parts. The first portion is an debut, the 2nd, is a theoretical model that explains why differences exist and persist. A sum-up of the chief gender issues in accounting will be made in the 3rd portion. The 4th portion will spread out on some of these gender issues. A treatment of these issues will do up the 5th subdivision while a recommendation chapter together with an docket for future research will shut the undertaking.

Section B

Theoretical background: Gender inequality

Some surveies advance the being of ‘discrimination ‘ as the exclusive cause of the inequalities that exist between males and females ( Davidson and Burk, 1994 ) . Discrimination appears to explicate the being of pay-gaps and differences in occupation position. However, Rubenstein ( 1984 ) asserts that favoritism could merely be one factor in a pool. This has led to the development of several theories that help to explicate why important differences ( inequalities ) exist and even persist between males and females despite major attempts to extenuate gender inequality. Three of the major theories that have been used to explicate such differences or explicate why gender inequality persist include ; the person-centred theory, the structural-centred theory, and the Bias-centred theory ( See Whiting and Wright, 2001 ) .

Person-centred theory

As noted by Whitening and Wright ( 2001 ) , this theory asserts that ‘there are differences in the personal properties and behavioural features of males as and these histories for their different intervention ‘ ( P.

195 ) . This is apparent in the fact that managerial functions and major places of authorization within companies are viewed as being suited for persons who are dominant, self-asserting, confident, powerful, competitory, aggressive, self- reliant. Concurrently these traits are non by and large associated with the feminine gender.

In many contexts and civilizations, females are by and large and widely perceived to be delicate, weak, dependent and emotional. These associated traits are non associated with leading capableness and ability.

Structural-centred theory

As indicated by Whitening and Wright ( 2001 ) this theory ‘proposes that adult females are significantly disadvantaged as a consequence of the traditional patriarchal construction of modern organisations ‘ ( p. 196 ) . Traditionally work forces have had a lead function in organisations and society while adult females have mostly been relegated to a support function in the society. Despite the monumental displacement in the axial rotation of adult females in Western societies, male laterality is still evidenced in developing states and the Eastern civilisations.

The constructions of organisations have traditionally accorded senior managerial places to work forces while adult females have traditionally taken up functions as secretaries or helpers. These stereotypes still obviously remain and are profoundly rooted in the organisations even today.

Bias-centred theory

This theory asserts that females are biased and discriminated against because of two factors ; sex-role stereotypes and statistical favoritism ( Hull and Umansky, 1997 ; Whiting and Wright, 2001 ) . The function of favoritism as the cause of inequalities and the function of stereotypes in forestalling adult females from developing and come oning on the occupation are farther discussed below.


Summary of gender issues in accounting

As noted above the focal point will be on the female gender and the issues faced by adult females in accounting ( survey or pattern ) . From a reappraisal of the literature, these issues are interwoven. For illustration ; favoritism could be a gender issue on its ain but when expounded, it can explicate pay spread issues. Pay spread issues could be a base entirely issue but when expounded it could be explained by lower occupation patterned advance for females. The kernel of this illustration is to asseverate that there is no 1 consistent and acceptable manner of foregrounding the issues faced by the feminine gender in the field of accounting.The indicant is that some of the issues are inflicted on the female by their society ( e.g. favoritism ) while others can be attributed to the females ‘ function in the household ( for illustration in child birth ) .

Some of the issues that have been pointed out by anterior research workers in the field include ; pigeonholing, pay-gap issues, lower occupation patterned advance, occupation promotion and publicity, low organisational position, favoritism, emphasis and going and bias ( See surveies by Heywood and Nezlek, 1993 ; Gundenson, 1989 ; Reichardt and Schroeder, 1992 ; Hull and Umansky, 1997 ; Maupin, 1990 ; Roberts and Coutts, 1992 and Barker and Monks, 1998 amongst others ) . Some of these issues are integrally similar ( and interwoven ) and so they will be bundled and discussed to let for concision and conciseness.Section D

Wages and occupation patterned advance

Pay spread issuesSocial scientific discipline research workers such as Gundenson ( 1989 ) have documented the fact that on mean males tend to gain significantly more than females in footings of rewards.Heywood and Nezlek ( 1993 ) found that such differences can still be documented even across apparently homogeneous groups. Homogeneous groups here could include people with the same degree of instruction, people within the same houses, the same profession and the same business. In kernel both research workers assert that a important wage spread exist between work forces and adult females with a similar degree of instruction and in a similar profession. The writers besides assert that the mean net incomes of males over their life clip do significantly surpass the mean net incomes of females over a life clip ( Heywood and Nezlek, 1993 ) .These consequences have been found to prevail within the accounting profession bespeaking that male comptrollers on norm earn higher than female comptrollers even within homogeneous groups.

Schaefer and Zimmer ( 1995 ) utilizing US current population study ( CPS ) information for the 1989-1991 period found grounds to asseverate that mean net incomes of female comptrollers and hearers was over 49 % less than mean net incomes of male comptrollers and hearers. Reichardt and Schroeder ( 1992 ) conducted an extended study on the instituted of direction comptrollers in the US and found that female direction comptrollers earned significantly less than male direction comptrollers.Ried et Al ( 1987 ) investigation pay derived functions between female and male comptrollers in the US found that get downing rewards were equal for both groups but the rewards of males grew faster than that of females.The person-centred theory discussed supra has provided propositions to explicate why such wage spreads do be. Gammie and Gammie ( 1995 ) for illustration basing on the person-centred theory argues that females have less career aspirations. In their sample of Scots employees, they found that female employees were less inclined to geting top places within their houses. The grounds advanced for this were chiefly to make with their lives outside the work environment.

While males regarded work, publicity and accomplishment as a precedence, females regarded household and leisure as a precedence. Other grounds of the being of a important pay-gap and differences in occupation position include ; favoritism, personal properties and accomplishments, deficiency of entree to organisational cognition, deficiency of wise man support, onerous working hours, and the domestic political orientation ( see surveies by hunton et Al. ( 1996 ) , Hull and Umansky ( 1997 ) , Roberts and Coutts ( 1992 ) , Barker and Monks ( 1998 ) , Schwartz ( 1989 ) and Thane ( 1992 ) .

These grounds will be briefly reviewed in the Section E ( below ) of this undertaking.

Promotion and Job promotion

Hooks and Cheramy ( 1989 ) in their research found that adult females have been every bit successful as work forces with regard to occupation publicity. In their survey they found that merely 3 % of the spouses in the biggest accounting houses were female.

These consequences are aggravated by the fact that more females in the US are registered into accounting grade plans than males ( Walsh and Young, 1992 )An interesting proposition was made by Maupin ( 1990 ) to explicate why males were more likely to come on through the ranks of accounting houses while adult females will see a deficiency of upward occupation mobility. Maupin ‘s survey looked at how personality traits affect an person ‘s success in the accounting industry. Maupin ( 1990 ) found that higher places within accounting houses were managed by persons who possessed what she calls and ‘androgynous behaviour form ‘ ( p.

105 ) . Androgynous here is synonymous with sexless or gender impersonal. In here classs, she found that female comptrollers with a feminine character were less likely to come on through accounting houses.Section Tocopherol

Reasons advanced for why males and females do non acquire equal wage and publicity


As noted above favoritism has by and large been advanced as the chief ground why equality exists and persists between males and females ( Hunton et al.

, 1996, Hull and Umansky, 1997 ) . Research workers have shown that this favoritism arises from several factors including chauvinistic inclinations, statistical disadvantage and stereotyping ( Hull and Umansky, 1997 ) . In footings of statistical disadvantage, there tends to be fewer adult females than work forces employed as comptrollers. The societal nature of the work topographic point allows adhering between persons of the same sex. If different sexes show a grade of favouritism towards their sort, adult females are left with a statistical disadvantage and are hence perceived as the lesser sex within the agreement. Pigeonholing typically leads to a perceptual experience of females as weak, emotional and dependent and hence unsuitable for disputing leading undertakings.

The terminal consequence is that either manner, females are discriminated against in the work topographic point.

Lack of entree to organisational cognition

Stereotypes have led the accounting profession developing as a Man ‘s industry. When one hear of ‘an comptroller ‘ the image of a adult male is what rapidly comes to mind.

The most successful persons within the professional accounting pattern are those who are able to intercede with concerns and the investing communities to negotiate trades and convey in new clients. This will merely be likely if such persons have entree to a broad spectrum of information from different parties within the investing communities. Pigeonholing has led adult females to be in a deprived place in the industry as it is by and large believed that it is a Man ‘s universe. Research by Roberts and Coutts ( 1992 ) concluded that adult females are by and large in a deprived place because of their deficiency of entree to finish and timely organisational cognition and information. This disadvantage weighs to a great extent on their opportunities when the high degree of competition within the industry is factored-in.

Family duties

Concurrent with the work of Gammie and Gammie ( 1995 ) , Barker and Monks ( 1998 ) found that household duties can restrict the calling aspirations of females every bit good as their ability to turn within organisations.

This ties in neatly with the domestic political orientation ( household life ) propounded by Thane ( 1992 ) as a ground for inequalities between males and females in the accounting industry. Coincident with consequences obtained by Gammie and Gammie ( 1995 ) and Barker and Monks ( 1998 ) , Reed and Kratchman ( 1990 ) found that the functions played by females in accounting houses were significantly affected by child birth particularly the birth of their first kid. Their research shows that the consequence of kid birth on married work forces was really elusive.Females of kid bearing age frequently have to take long interruptions during child birth and early kid attention phases. The jurisprudence in the UK for illustration regulations against any signifier of favoritism against females due to their gestation. It besides mandates statutory pregnancy wage for half a twelvemonth despite their absence from work.

Although this is being treated as a soundless issue, it is evident that employers are weary of this state of affairs and will at that place be inclined to forestall such breaks by demoing a penchant for male employees in certain cardinal places. The consequence is inequality between males and females.

Lack of wise man support

Mentor support has been proven to take to high degrees of patterned advance within organisations ( Schwartz, 1989 ) . In Schwartz ‘s ( 1989 ) work he found that females were less likely to hold full wise man support compared to males. Mentor support can be formal or informal but is largely informal in many organisations. Most organisations run developing and development plans for their employees. However, Schwartz ( 1989 ) noted that this does non replace the informal wise man support within organisations.

The fact that most senior employees in senior places are already males means that in an informal scene, they are most likely to choose younger males for mentorship. Schwartz ( 1989 ) argues that this leads to an environment where male employees are more likely to hold wise man support that female employees. This leads to future inequalities and the mentorship finally translates to new functions, new duties and higher wage for those that have gone through the mentoring plan.

Burdensome hours of work

The accounting industry is characterized by onerous hours of work ( Barker and Monks, 1998 ) . Accountants in pattern are normally first to work and most of them work till tardily at dark. In certain functions such as audits, comptrollers are expected to go to several locations and pass important periods off from their places to finish audits. In research carried out by Barker and Monks ( 1998 ) , they found that onerous hours of work was advanced for the ground for high degrees of emphasis and goings from the industry.

The consequence of working hours appeared to be more important on females than on males. These consequences can be explained in visible radiation of the fact that females are place shapers. They constitute the anchor of many households and will by and large want to be closer to their households and their kids. Working off from place can therefore do anxiousness and emphasis and hence going. Burdensome working hours in the profession can therefore do the profession less attractive for such females.Section F


Despite robust ordinances set out by authoritiess and equality policies pronounced by houses, there is remain several inequalities between males and females in the accounting industry.

Much of these differences occur in footings of pay-gap. It is likely that most of the bing differences can be attributed to society norms instead than straight-out favoritism in the work topographic point. In most societies today, work forces are still regarded as the bread-winner while adult females assume a instead supportive function ( than a prima function ) in the household ( References to spread out the thought ) . As such work forces are inclined to work harder, take up more duty, work longer ours, take up work in different locations etc.

This flexibleness which is built into a adult male ‘s nature is a really attractive trait for many accounting houses.Again, by nature adult females are the pillars of household life. They are responsible for child birth, most of kid attention and the elevation of kids. UK ordinance steering ‘pregnancy at the work topographic point ‘ for illustration, makes it mandatory for houses to give pregnant adult females a 6 months paid leave. Their leave can be extended by an drawn-out period of another 6 months ( unpaid ) . This implies they can lawfully remain off work for a period of one twelvemonth.This might explicate why such houses, will easy advance work forces to places of added duty.

It appears that several comptrollers earn a important portion of their gross rewards through excess work ( such as overtime work and external work ) . This means that such groups normally have to work long hours which are onerous and ‘not household friendly ‘ .Section G

Why equality is of import

Two chief Schools of ideas have advanced separate statements for equality between males and females.

The plants of these schools are rooted in the construct of diverseness and inclusion in the work topographic point. The two statements advanced are the concern statement and the moral statement.Wrench ( 2005 ) noted that through the inclusion of females in the work topographic point, an docket of diverseness is being promoted. The writer argues that diverseness comes with invention, which most frequently means increased productiveness within the house. Harvey and Allard, ( 2005 ) argues that diverseness direction through the inclusion of females will take to be nest eggs, fight in enrolling gifted persons and concern growing and development. Propounding the moral statement for equality, diverseness and inclusion in the workplace, McNett ( in Harvey and Allard, eds ) progresss three classs of theories, Deontology ( religion ) , Teleology ( hope ) and Caring ( charity ) . The underlying rule in these theories is that equality is the moral and right thing to make and equality leads to the greater good of the society.


The end of most research in the country is non merely to expose the being of inequalities but to supply thoughts on ways in which the inequalities can be reduced and a position quo of equality maintained.Through ordinance the authorities can go on to further the rights of adult females and thrust through an equality docket. However the broad attack which has been implemented by many authoritiess for a long clip seems to hold failed significantly ( Kirton and Greene, 2003.

The weaknesss of the attack might be a consequence of the fact that it depends extremely on the effectivity of statute law and the willingness and finding of direction to implement such an docket of equality. A more extremist attack to statute law has been proposed which involves active and proactive support for females to let them vie more efficaciously in the working environment ( Kirton and Greene, 2003 ) . In the accounting industry, this could include compulsory quotas for the employment of females, compulsory quotas for occupation patterned advance or partnerships within accounting houses.Wright and Whiting ( 1999 ) noted that some companies in Australia do offer assertiveness and female calling patterned advance preparation tailored specifically to run into the demands of females in the accounting industry.

This appears to be a good thought for acceptance in other economic systems like the UK as it has the potency for bridging the spread by re-skilling the female work force.Wright and Whiting, ( 1999 ) besides found that the media is a strong tool through which equality can be fostered. They document the usage of media installations in Australia to foreground the success of female comptrollers in the industry. This helps to do the profession friendlier to career builders and could potentially increase the figure of adult females taking up alumnus causes in accounting. It besides breaks down long bing and prevailing stereotypes about comptrollers and females. An acceptance of such an attack is bound to increase industry engagement and perceptual experience and will therefore contribute towards equality of males and females in the sector.

Future research

Despite the important growing of research in the country, some inquiries are yet to be answered.

In this subdivision proposals are made on the possible waies of future research based on the issues raised in the survey.Future research workers could look into whether the inequalities in wage spread do be amongst different age groups of males and females. From the reappraisal, there are indicants that adult females above a kid delivering age might non be influenced by the same force per unit areas as adult females below this age. As such they can be more flexible, take up excess work, move to different location etc. This facet has non been reviewed in anterior literature consulted. A research here will take to a verification of averments made about the domestic function of adult females.Again, the country suffers from a deficiency of research on the consequence of household constructions and civilization on wage spreads.

It might be worthwhile look intoing whether a adult female ‘s age, matrimonial position, figure of kids, state of nationality ( placeholder for civilization ) affects her net incomes. This is bound to throw new penetrations into cognition in the country.