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Women’s Careers in a Patriarchal Context: Through the Lens of the Kaleidoscope Career Model

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posted on 2022-11-02, 00:48 authored by Farzana Ashraf

Women’s careers are often characterized by an unceasing search for challenges, opportunities, and balance. Their careers tend to get interrupted by diversified family relations, the limited scope of advancement, and gender discrimination. The kaleidoscope career model explains unique patterns of women’s careers by examining three career issues women experience throughout their lives. The three career behaviors of authenticity, balance, and challenge are the “ABCs” of kaleidoscope careers. Authenticity refers to being true to one’s self. Balance and challenge refer to achieving a sense of equilibrium between nonwork and work goals and the quest for challenging work, respectively. This study investigates the impact of private patriarchy on women’s careers. In private patriarchy, women are dominated by men within the household through practices of restricted public movement, unequal division of domestic labor, early marriage, arranged or forced marriage, and dowry. Semi-structured interviews have been used as a data collection instrument to examine how experiences of private patriarchy influence women’s desires for the kaleidoscope of authenticity, balance, and challenge in patriarchal contexts.  As the first study to examine the kaleidoscope career model in a patriarchal context, findings of this study offer theoretical advances by recognizing household restriction and discrimination as prevailing practices of private patriarchy and demonstrating their impact on women’s kaleidoscope careers. This study’s findings confirm that women’s experiences of private patriarchy determine their career behaviors of authenticity, balance, and challenge. Women display one career behavior over another depending on the extent of private patriarchy they have experienced during their lifetime. Women in both early and late stages of their careers in patriarchal contexts display the career behavior of authenticity. However, balance and challenge career behaviors depend on the marital status of the women.


Table of Contents

Abstract -- Introduction -- Literature Review -- Methods -- Findings -- Discussion and Conclusion -- References -- Appendix


In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the degree of Master of Research on December 23, 2021

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School, Department of Management, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Denise Jepsen

Additional Supervisor 1

Syed Shah


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




90 pages

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