Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Accounting and Finance


Australian accounting is nnale donninated, not because of the number of men versus women in the profession, but because its institutional structures, ethos and knowledge base are male dominated. This thesis is an historical examination of the British roots of male dominance in Australian accounting which is viewed as crucial to understanding the balance of power in the Australian accounting profession. A Foucauldian analysis of power is used although it has been recast from a feminist perspective. The analysis indicates that women played a crucial role in accounting prior to the nineteenth century. During the nineteenth century, the definition of work changed, the nature of accounting work changed, accounting was professionalised, and the notion of the ideal woman was developed. All these changes were detrimental to women's involvement in accounting work. The legacy of nineteenth century Britain is still being felt in the Australian accounting profession today. An agenda for change is given as a step towards power in Australian accounting being shared by women and men.