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Contextual embeddedness of careers: female “nonsurvivors” and their gendered relational context

Abstract Our aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the contextual embeddedness of women's careers. To do this, we leverage feminist relational theory (a) to understand the relational context of women's careers in Lebanon, with a particular focus on working‐self and career investments, and (b) to trace the gendered power dynamics of career investments in the relational context of work. Through examining the narratives of 24 Lebanese female “nonsurvivors” (i.e., used to work but are not currently engaged in paid work), our findings paint a complex and nuanced picture of different relational contexts. Represented on a continuum ranging from minimally conducive for women's careers to contexts that are incrementally more conducive, the differences between these contexts are unpacked through drawing attention to the gendered power dynamics shaping women's (dis)connection with their working self, the perceived (mis)alignment of others, and the career investments that they make. Our contribution lies in augmenting our understanding of the contextual embeddedness of women's careers by demonstrating the theoretical and practical utility of bringing a deeper feminist analysis to understand the relational context of work.

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