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Keywords:

  • Professional accountancy firms;
  • Gender;
  • Discrimination;
  • Structural barriers;
  • Work preferences

Abstract

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.