Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Accounting

Advisor

Karen Pincus

Reader

Jonathan Shipman

Abstract

Approximately 72,648,000 women participate in the labor force compared to 31,543,000 women in 1970 (U.S. Department of Labor). In the 1950s, women were only 30% of the workforce (Toossi, 2002). In 1970, 1990, and 2010, the percentage of working women increased to 40%, 45%, and 47% respectively (Humphrey, 2013). However, students have wrong perceptions about discrimination against women, and, since perceptions and facts are not the same thing, their perceptions might make them misunderstand the accounting profession. This study confirmed that there are misperceptions. To gauge students’ perceptions, I conducted a survey named “Gender Diversity in Accounting” at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Then, I examined whether 2000 level, 3000 level, 4000 level, female and male, accounting and finance students have the same perception regarding discrimination against women in the accounting industry, and whether their perceptions match the facts. As with all research, this study has some limitations. Since the comparisons were made between different categorizations, the risk associated with other variables should be minimized. Hence, students’ GPA should be taken into consideration because students’ GPA reflects the knowledge they have gained from classes. Also, the participants are all from the Walton College of Business; as a result, the size of the sample and the geography limit the generalizability of the results. Future research may need to administer the survey to multiple universities, majors, and geographical regions.

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