Sunday, 16 January 2011

Expat Women Series: Expat career women

In most places with large communities of expats there are generally a number of activities and established social networks to entertain the accompanying wives of men expatriated abroad for work. However, what about when the roles are reversed and it is a career woman who is expatriated?

In part three of our Expat Women Series we take a look at some of the issues women face when it comes to working abroad.

Source: Randy Kashka

One problem many women seem to encounter is the different cultural attitudes to women, particularly in the workplace. On there are useful tips offered by ExpatWomen Girlfriend to women who find they suffer from a lack of respect from their male colleagues on the ground in their foreign work environment.

As well as the usual culture shock of working in a completely new environment, women often face additional barriers when relocating abroad, especially when expatriating to traditionally patriarchal societies. The advice we have is to do as much research as possible before posting. Read widely and learn about the country’s traditions, customs and culture before arriving and most importantly is to be open-minded about your secondment and remain flexible and patient.

There are many great resources out on the world wide web to help women who want to experience the challenge and excitement of living abroad. Wendy Enelow for example shares some of her top tips for writing a resume for an international audience.

If you are a woman considering taking on a placement abroad then Leslie Strazzullo’s survival guide is also well worth a read. She offers a range of advice including questions to ask yourself before you make the decision to go as well as survival strategies for when you are out there.

Are you an expatriated career woman? Or are you thinking about moving abroad for work? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experiences.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a Canadian expat now living permanently in Germany. I moved here for my German fiance. In Canada, I was a Program Director at a university. In Germany it would take at least 3 years to get back to that level since a similar position would require me to become fluent in German and learn the German university system.

    Instead, I've decided to pursue a career as a travel writer, something I've always wanted to do. I'm doing it part time at the moment as learning German is also a big priority, but I'm really enjoying it and likely would never have made the leap if I had not moved to Germany.

    I think expat women often find themselves in a new country where the job possibilities that existed at home look quite different in the new country and it's important to be adaptable and perhaps venture into something new.


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