Accounting Students and Constructed Gender: An exploration of gender in the context of accounting degree choices at two Scottish universities

Ian Hume Thomson, Jan Bebbington, Diane Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a questionnaire survey of accounting students and provides some insights into the reasons why students chose to study accountancy as a degree subject. Further, it extends the analysis of these motivations to take into account biological and constructed gender. This second theme builds on earlier work by Maupin and Lehman (1994, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 19, 427–437), Maupin (1990, Advances in Public Interest Accounting, 3, 97–105) and Keys (1985, Sex Roles, 13, 33–46) in utilizing the Bem's Sex Role Inventory (which categorizes contructed gender into feminine, androgynous and masculine gender groups, see Bem, 1974, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162) to examine the constructed gender of future accountants at an earlier stage of development—at university. This paper examines constructed gender in an European context and contrasts this to the situation in the U.S. where the prior work in the area has been undertaken. We explore our findings in the context of claims that accounting is a predominantly masculine profession (see for example, Hines, 1992, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 17, 313–341 and Welsh, 1992, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 5, 120–132). The results of this questionnaire suggest that our European sample displays a different constructed gender distribution from that found in the U.S. literature. However, the study confirms the finding that accounting students show a tendency to possess masculine or androgynous constructed genders, rather than feminine. In this respect women may be winning the ‘numbers game’ but at a cost—that cost being the elimination of feminine gender characteristics. However, there is little evidence from our findings of constructed gender having a specifiable influence on study motivations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-267
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Accounting Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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