Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Gender inequality and the professionalisation of accountancy in the UK from 1870 to the interwar years

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-11, 15:52 authored by Claire Evans, Nick Rumens
Drawing on historical data largely relating to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), this article examines the early professionalisation of accountancy as a gendered process. Mobilising Acker’s (1990) theory of the ideal worker, this article highlights articulations of an ideal professional accountant, coded as male and masculine in the gendering of professional skills and knowledge, image management, networking and social class. Additionally, social changes such as WW1 reshaped the masculine nature of the ideal professional accountant in PwC, emphasising a militaristic masculinity, to support the war effort. While women were temporarily employed in accountancy clerical jobs in wartime, this does not appear to have re-gendered PwC as an organisation inclusive of femininity and women. However, it is noted that some middle-class women challenged exclusionary professional practices within accountancy. The implications of the gendered aspects of the professionalisation of accountancy are discussed throughout the article.


Published in

Business History


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Evans, C. and Rumens, N. (2020) 'Gender inequality and the professionalisation of accountancy in the UK from 1870 to the interwar years', Business History, pp.1-16

Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Claire Evans

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en