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Negotiating gender constraints in international audit firms in Saudi Arabia: Exploring the interaction of gender and religion

Sian, Suki and Agrizzi, Dila and Tessa, Wright and Abeer, Alsalloom (2020) 'Negotiating gender constraints in international audit firms in Saudi Arabia: Exploring the interaction of gender and religion.' Accounting, Organizations and Society, 84. ISSN 0361-3682

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Abstract

The adoption of religious nationalism as a public project by the Saudi state continues to intimately shape the experiences of Saudi women, despite recent initiatives facilitating the participation of women in the workforce. Through interview-based evidence, the paper shows how patriarchal societal norms and practices rooted in a particular interpretation of Islam and enshrined in legislation are transported into the workplace and impact upon the daily lives of Saudi women auditors. Although various barriers to the progression of women auditors are already identified in the accounting and gender literature, our study provides additional insights into how the profession in Saudi Arabia takes a very distinctive gendered form due to the interaction of gender with religious and cultural norms. Additionally, our evidence highlights the role of the global audit firms, particularly the predominantly male audit managers and partners, in adapting their diversity management practices to navigate the constraints on female auditors in the Saudi context. We find evidence of pervasive inequality and the re-segregation of the Saudi female auditing workforce into ‘woman-friendly’ areas, with potentially damaging effects on career progression.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: audit firms, gender, accounting profession, religious nationalism, Saudi Arabia
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2020 09:27
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 14:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26406

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