Gender Inequality in Small and Large Audit Firms

49 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2013

See all articles by Kris Hardies

Kris Hardies

University of Antwerp

Diane Breesch

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Joël Branson

Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB

Date Written: April 20, 2013

Abstract

Women are still a minority in the audit profession, especially at the partner level. An increasing amount of literature has explored the sources of this gender inequality. Past studies have, however, neglected the possibility that the processes that lead to the (re)production of gender differences and hierarchies may differ between audit firms of different sizes. In this article, we combine quantitative with qualitative data to explore how gender inequalities regarding promotion and access to resources of power (at the partner level) might differ between audit firms of different sizes. Our data show that women who achieve partnership in large firms (but not in some smaller firms) are confronted with a second-level glass ceiling, as they do not play leading roles within their firms. This can be explained by the higher demands of commitment large firms place upon (prospective) partners and these firms’ greater focus on the commercial side of auditing.

Keywords: professions, auditing industry, gender, firm size

JEL Classification: M42, J16

Suggested Citation

Hardies, Kris and Breesch, Diane and Branson, Joël, Gender Inequality in Small and Large Audit Firms (April 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2254268

Kris Hardies (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp ( email )

Department of Accounting and Finance
Pleinlaan 13
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

Diane Breesch

Vrije Universiteit Brussel ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, Brussels 1050
Belgium

Joël Branson

Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.vub.ac.be/es

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