Just how many globally mobile employees are female is open to question. What isgenerally acknowledged, however, is how effective women are on international assignments.
Diverse cultures and norms require preparation and awareness. Security issues vary around the world, but general safety precautions and local knowledge are useful wherever you are. Here are a few tips for women travelers:
-Travelers of any gender should inform themselves about the destination: Learn the local laws and customs. Get a sense of any history that affects interactions with different nationalities. Familiarize yourself with the culture as it pertains to gender roles and treatment.
-Check your government’s travel advisories for security alerts and register with your country’s embassy when you arrive. Sign up for any communications that will alert you in the event of an emergency.
-Part of cultural preparedness can include attire. Adhere, as much as is appropriate, to local norms and avoid choices like flashy accessories that can attract unwanted attention.
-Be aware of your beverages and food, and never take either – or anything ingestible – from a stranger.
-Keep your mobile phone charged as much as possible and carry a portable charger to ensure that you can always make a call.
-Think twice about posting about your accommodation or itinerary on social media. People can track your movements and know when you’ll be out, giving them an opportunity to target your room – or you.
-Know the business customs and protocols so you can project a professional image, whatever the best version of that is in the country. For example, learn how hierarchy is perceived, decision making is done, and what is important to local businesspeople in terms of relationship-building and gender expectations.
-Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid walking alone at night, and any areas known to be unsafe. Maintain a confident demeanor and keep actions that flag you as a newcomer to a minimum.
-Take advantage of any training or services offered by your company’s HR department or Global Mobility team, such as language or cultural programs, security alert messaging, and personal safety training.
Resources for businesswomen that complement these tips can be found in Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center, Best of the Web section. Just as important is country-specific information that covers details of the local environment for businesswomen, tips for attire and interactions, and general gender perceptions. Find all this in the IRC’s country reports. As a WBENC certified woman-owned business, Living Abroad is committed to informing and preparing women – and all genders – for business success abroad.
By equipping herself with information and support services, a businesswoman is freer to let her skills shine and enjoy a more effective work experience abroad.
Written by Ellen Harris, Product Manager, Content Group