Let's talk about sex(ism): Cross-national perspectives on women partners' narratives on equality and sexism at work in Germany and the UK

Patrizia Kokot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

While the accounting academy has contributed in important ways to furthering our understanding of the relative absence of women in top positions in Professional Service Firms, in-depth empirical research that focuses specifically on sexism is rare, especially so from a cross-national perspective. Drawing on sixty interviews with women partners in public accountancy firms in Germany and the United Kingdom, this article examines how women partners talk about sexism and equal opportunities in the accountancy profession and considers how these narratives are patterned cross-nationally. Employing cultural theory, this study explores how elite women discursively relate to sexism and equal opportunities through their career histories and demonstrates the complex interrelation between the context in which these narratives are produced and the past and present positions of the respondents. Interestingly, it was the German respondents who drew on problematic notions of 'choice' and responsibility, where it was upon women to make a choice between their careers and home lives, while this decision-making process was not expected from men. This was in contrast to the accounts of the UK participants who, although also unveiling tensions in their talk, were more inclined to acknowledge continuing structural constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Volume27
Early online date28 Feb 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • Accounting firms
  • Feminism
  • Gender
  • Sexism

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