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Exploring ourselves: Exploiting and resisting gendered identities of women academics in accounting and management

Kathryn Haynes (The York Management School, University of York, York, UK)
Anne Fearfull (School of Management, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




The aim of this paper is to examine gendered identities of women academics by exploring the interplay and exploitation of internal and external, personal and academic, identities. The paper also considers the relative prioritisation of the three main academic activities of teaching, research, and administration, in which an enhanced emphasis on research performance, as opposed to teaching and administration, is what is often deemed to represent “success” in academia.


Drawing on autoethnographical detail, the paper reflects on the complexities of identities as they are constructed, developed, experienced and understood both by themselves and by others. By presenting several short autobiographical vignettes, the paper examines perceptions of the gendered identity of women in academia as caring, “motherly” and nurturing, and demonstrates attempts to exploit so‐called “natural” feminine, mothering traits as a means of fulfilling the pastoral and administrative components of universities.


In considering such stereotypes, the paper addresses examples of their self‐fulfilment, whilst considering how academic structures and practices also impose such distinctions, in a context where academic “success” is often typified by research, publications and academic networking.


The paper considers both possibilities for resistance and the negative implications for the career success of women academics, arguing that, until these gendered stereotypes are challenged, women academics will continue to be disadvantaged within academic institutions.



Haynes, K. and Fearfull, A. (2008), "Exploring ourselves: Exploiting and resisting gendered identities of women academics in accounting and management", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 185-204.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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