Gender (in) Accounting: Insights, Gaps and an Agenda for Future Research
Despite the formal equality (and legislation to promote the role of women) in developed countries, the reality is that inequalities persist. Just consider how few women play key roles in companies, academe, politics, etc. For example, only 20% of full professors and fewer than 10% of Vice Chancellors/Rectors of universities are women (UNESCO, 2012). The gender agenda is particularly important at universities where the cultural perspectives of future leaders are shaped. The fact that women continue to be under-represented in positions of power is evidence of the effectiveness of the subtle ways of exclusion of women. Women are easily characterised as emotional and bitchy, whereas men who display similar traits are said to be passionate and using their controlled aggression to get things done. Young men who commit faux pas at work are taken aside by senior males and guided, in Western society often over a drink, while senior males easily gossip about the inappropriate behaviour of young women without providing any guidance. Is it any wonder then that women find it more difficult to flourish?
The studies in this ebook show that gender inequality is endemic to the workplace, even though study upon study shows that increased diversity makes sense in various ways, including when measured in economic terms. Organisations could be more successful if they increased the gender diversity of their managers and executives. The research presented in this ebook issue will alert employers that they are missing out on financial and social opportunities if they do not promote a more gender diverse workforce. The conscious and active promotion of women is needed to increase the presence of women in senior positions. Apart from the direct benefits, more women in senior positions will also provide examples for young women to aspire to, and ensure that women can be guided by women already in more senior positions. Further regulatory action at the national and supranational level, such as the EU, may also be called for. It is not enough for organisations to claim they provide equal opportunities if this is not evidenced by equal uptake of opportunities, because we all know how easy it is to use the subtle ways of exclusion.
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