Patriarchy persists: experiences of barriers to women's career progression in Italian accounting academia

Giovanna Galizzi, Karen McBride, Benedetta Siboni

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There are fewer women in the upper echelons of accounting academia in Italy than in other European countries, and fewer female full professors than in other disciplines at Italian universities. The purpose of this research is to investigate the barriers experienced by Italian women in accounting academia and contributes with suggestions to alleviate these. The paper adopts a phenomenographic approach to identify the ways in which a group of 24 Italian women, at different hierarchical levels, experienced barriers to their academic careers. The study identifies different categories of barriers that combine to prevent female perspectives and progression within accounting academia. Underpinning these barriers is a patriarchal culture that has a significant influence on women's careers in academia. The patriarchal structure in both the workplace and society, engenders difficulties in maintaining work-life balance, and shapes male and female roles in the academic workplace. The paper contributes to the literature on gender in the academic accounting discipline, exploring women's experiences of accounting academia, linking findings of a persistence of patriarchy, and arguing for a more feminist academic organisation. This is the first research in this area to use a phenomenographic method to investigate the barriers to career progression for Italian female academics in accounting and in examining the experience of women at different career levels, including those who have left accounting academia. The paper contributes to research on women's barriers to career advancement, bringing new insights to the understanding of the gender gap in accounting academia and in making suggestions for structural change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102625
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
Early online date11 Jun 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 11 Jun 2023


  • academic career
  • barriers
  • gender stereotypes
  • patriarchy
  • phenomenography
  • women

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