Women and the Legitimization of (Not) Engaging in Paid Work: Logics from Lebanon

TitleWomen and the Legitimization of (Not) Engaging in Paid Work: Logics from Lebanon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKaram, Charlotte M., and Fida Afiouni
JournalCareer Development International
Date Published10/2017

The purpose of this paper is to explore how public (i.e. culture, state, paid work) and private (i.e. household) patriarchal structures work to shape a woman’s own legitimacy judgments concerning not engaging in paid work. The authors trace the intersection and interaction of legitimacy logics at both the collective (i.e. validity) and individual (i.e. propriety) levels, thereby gaining a better contextual understanding of each woman’s perception of career opportunities and limitations. The study finds that legitimization of (not) engaging in paid work is often tied to patriarchal logics that favor private sphere responsibilities for women, particularly related to the relational and instrumental logics of childrearing and husband-oriented responsibilities. Women’s legitimacy judgment formation seems to be based on multilevel cues and on differential instances of evaluative vs passive judgment formation. Some appear to passively assume the legitimacy of the logics; while others more actively question these logics. The findings suggest that active questioning is often overwhelmed by the negative and harsh realities making the woman succumb to passivity and choosing not to engage in paid work. This study provides a better mapping of the individual woman’s daily cognitions concerning the legitimacy of (not) engaging in paid work and a unique multilevel analytic framework that can serve as a useful example of contextualizing career research.

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