Spatiality and accounting: The case of female segregation in audit firms

Dila Agrizzi*, Teerooven Soobaroyen, Abeer Alsalloom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to examine how organisational ‘space’ is implicated in gendering practices in auditing and contributes to impeding the entry or progress of women within the profession. Specifically, we investigate how women auditors experience a formal segregation in the workplace in Big Four audit firms located in Saudi Arabia. Drawing upon and developing Lefebvre's (1991) work on the ‘production of space’, we conceptualise spatiality both in terms of the physical environment and the social relations and subjective processes within these space(s). Our case reveals the interplay between the discourses and codifications of the ‘female-only section’ as a ‘well-intentioned’ locale of domination and control of female labour conceived by the State and firm managers, and how women auditors experience the physical manifestations of prohibition and divide, the hindrance of audit work and productivity and a constant anxiety about non-compliance to cultural diktats. Furthermore, the disconnect between professional activity and its attendant social relations, and forced homogenisation borne out of politico-religious rationales underlying the State's spatial planning policies generate a gendered space which constrains the participation and development of women in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101238
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Accounting profession
  • Audit firms
  • Gendered space
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spatiality
  • Workplace


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