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Accounting and gender equality in (times of) crisis: toward an accounting that accommodates for emotional work?

Ludivine Perray-Redslob (Accounting and Finance, Emlyon Business School, Ecully, France)
Dima Younes (Social Sciences and Strategy, Emlyon Business School, Ecully, France)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 12 October 2021

Issue publication date: 3 January 2022

856

Abstract

Purpose

Empirically, this paper questions whether accounting can help cope with crisis and preserve some form of feminist ideals. Theoretically, this paper aims to explore how accounting affects the division of emotional work in times of crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relies on a qualitative study that investigates “life under lockdown” during the COVID crisis and focuses on middle-class well-educated couples aspiring for some form of gender equality and who introduced accounting tools (schedules, charts, to-do-lists, etc.) in their daily life to achieve it.

Findings

The paper argues that accounting tools are not able to prevent couples from adopting traditional ways of carrying out emotional work. By favoring the masculine way of displaying emotions, they make invisible women's efforts for comforting. They even mask the unequal distribution of emotional work under some form of “neoliberal equality”. Also, in a context where middle-class standards are perceived as crucial to meet for both parents to keep their social position, accounting tools, by holding parents accountable for these standards, let no time to find alternative ways of living. Consequently, traditional roles become impossible to reverse.

Research limitations/implications

The paper investigates accounting, gender and emotions by showing the importance of making emotional work visible at a household but also at an organizational and societal level. It calls for an “integrative” emotional display that is crucial for resilience in times of crisis and invites to challenge neoliberal middle-class standards that make household life difficult for most women. Theoretically, it invites for further exploring how accounting tools are constructed and negotiated and how unpredictable elements of life other than emotions affect gender when accounting tools are introduced in times of crisis.

Originality/value

This article contributes to the literature on gender-in-accounting by introducing the concept of emotional work and showing how accounting tools affect the gendered division of emotional work in praxis.

Keywords

Citation

Perray-Redslob, L. and Younes, D. (2022), "Accounting and gender equality in (times of) crisis: toward an accounting that accommodates for emotional work?", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 229-239. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2020-4880

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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