This paper examines prior quantitative and qualitative research and statistical data relative to the issue of gender inequality that persists within accounting careers at upper-level management and partnership positions. The paper raises questions pertaining to the inequality that exists in upperlevel management and partner-level accounting positions in the United States. This may be true because, the work place in the accounting profession is not responding to its environment in ways that accommodate changes at a fast-enough pace, given that there is a shift to Generation X accounting professionals upon the retirement of the Baby Boomers. As different generations progress toward partnership level, research shows that today’s women do not reach partnership rank at the same rate. Although there has been progress with regard to the male-female ratio at partner level, there still is no gender representation of partners proportionate to representation as staff and managers. The findings of this paper suggest that inequality may not be solely due to accounting firms and industry behavior, but also that women do not currently display the necessary qualities of a successful partner or upper-level officer which require motivation and client relationship sustainability. They also may spend less time in their profession due to familial obligations.


women in accounting; advancement; leadership; accounting industry; accounting profession

Document Type


Year of Completion



Ilene Persoff

Academic Department

School of Professional Accountancy

Included in

Accounting Commons