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Towards the feminization of accounting practice: Lessons from the experiences of Japanese women in the accounting profession

Naoko Komori (Centre for the Analysis of Investment Risk, Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 9 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to open up the Anglo‐centred argument in gender and accounting by exploring the relationship of women and accounting in a different social and cultural context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on in‐depth ethnographical studies to explore the real‐ life experiences of 66 Japanese women (9 percent of all women CPAs) who have entered the accounting profession from a range of backgrounds and generations.

Findings

The paper finds that some women accounting professionals in Japan have brought about changes in accounting practice there by applying a uniquely feminine approach in their day‐to‐day work. Their strict approach is attuned to the ongoing globalization in the field of accountancy, and this has helped to widen the opportunities for women.

Research limitations/implications

This paper demonstrates that, in order to understand the issues surrounding gender and accounting, it is important to consider the prevailing social context and its underpinnings. In the Japanese “interdependent” social context, gender is intertwined in the process of accounting to establish its “independent” status.

Practical implications

It has been argued that the unique social and cultural context in Japan will make it difficult for the country to converge its accounting and auditing with global standards. By incorporating a gender perspective, the paper aims to clarify the social assumptions under which accounting and auditing operate in Japan.

Originality/value

By making a close analysis of the process by which Japanese women have entered the accounting profession, the paper reveals the connection between the growing significance of auditing and the changing role and position of women.

Keywords

Citation

Komori, N. (2008), "Towards the feminization of accounting practice: Lessons from the experiences of Japanese women in the accounting profession", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 507-538. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513570810872905

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited