Women and the prospects for partnership in professional accountancy firms


  • The authors would like to thank The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland for the grant received to undertake this project.


This paper examines three possible reasons (stereotypical discrimination, structural obstacles and employee's preferences) for the lack of women partners in professional accountancy firms in Australia, UK and New Zealand. Data are collected from an experimental survey and interviews of current partners. Whilst women's perceived preferences and organisational structural barriers contributed strongly to the lack of women partners in all sizes of firms, traditional stereotypical discrimination against women at the partnership decision point was only displayed in metropolitan large non-Big 4 firms, and it is suggested that this is related to intense competitive pressure and a constrained partnership resource.