Document Type

Journal Article


This article traces the campaign by women in Australia to gain admission to accounting bodies and is set within the context of views of the abilities and place of women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In general, women were perceived as having neither the nature nor the intelligence for the commercial world and were better suited to being companions to men rather than competitors. The article demonstrates that even though some men thought that men and women should have equal opportunities, many others actively or passively resisted any movement that would allow women to compete with men within the workplace, including the profession of accounting. For almost 40 years, women faced opposition to gaining membership of professional accounting bodies in the UK and Australia, on the basis that the rights of men were favoured along with a fear that these rights would be compromised if women had equal rights to compete in the workforce.