Ethel Ayres Purdie: Critical practitioner and suffragist

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Abstract / Description of output

The pursuit of critical accounting practice is explored through the life of Ethel Ayres Purdie (1874-1923), certified accountant and militant suffragist. Drawing on an array of primary and secondary sources the study explores the arenas in which Ayres Purdie sought progressive change, particularly in relation to the taxation of married women and the exclusionary policies of the accounting establishment. The diverse structures and media vehicles which she utilised to disseminate competing discourses are examined. Further, this biographical study reveals that the construction of a clientele by early women accountants relied substantially on sisterhood - female solidarity borne of common experience in patriarchal society and a determination to challenge its institutions. The injustices suffered by women clients provided case data which a critical practitioner such as Ethel Ayres Purdie could use to dispute official narratives. The paper illustrates how the professional services which women accountants offered to feminist organisations represented an important, if largely unexplored, contribution to the suffrage movement in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-101
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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