In today’s business world, women are an increasing part of the national and international workforce. It’s estimated that worldwide about 70 percent of working-age women now work outside the house. Despite this, discrimination in the workforce is still problematic for women worldwide.
Discrimination takes the kind of job segregation, unequal pay, lack of training, lack of progress, and exclusion from particular fields that are considered”masculine”. Working mothers are especially disadvantaged since, because of lack of child care facilities, they are often forced to put their careers on hold or take lower paying jobs. Millions of women reside in societies in which centuries of religious and social laws, customs and traditions have created insurmountable obstacles to education, jobs, and even health care, and have deprived women of the civil and political rights.
It’s very important to the American girl traveling on business to understand not just her own situation, but also the situation of women in different cultures. It’s often these cultural and traditional biases that American women will face when conducting business in foreign countries. So as to understand women’s reception in company worldwide we will need to comprehend how cultures see the girls in their society. Researchers Nancy Adler and Dafna Izraeli report in their 1994 review of 21 countries on four continents which, because of changing social patterns, there have been considerable increases in women in management in the world.
The routines they cite include favorable financial conditions, supportive government policies, changes in family roles, and emerging service systems. Despite these improvements, these researchers also found that in many countries guys continue to control the political and economic power and to control in professional management functions. These researchers report that explanations for these obstacles to women’s progress globally have diverse.
- Men’s characteristics and behaviours are seen as the norm for successful managerial performance, and it’s perceived that girls do not exhibit these characteristics, and so have been excluded from managerial positions.
- Women’s own limitations inhibit her achievement in management by inducing her to select lower-ranked or career-limiting positions within the business. Thus, firms provide men more chances to gain power, prestige and financial benefits, leaving women underrepresented because of the uneven distribution of men and women in key roles.
- Organizations have built-in assumptions about sex which explain why women are underrepresented and underutilized in direction. This perspective suggests that sex discrimination is embedded in supervisors’ basic assumptions about society, the company and how it needs to be run.
- Men who, for reasons mentioned previously, have been put into privileged positions within the company don’t want more competition than they already have. Men at every level of the hierarchy have the capacity to control the organization’s rules at that level, including its standards for promotion and, thus, who enters and who doesn’t.
But there’s good news too. Despite these strong and longstanding patterns and perspectives, these investigators (Adler and Izraeli) forecast that international competition will drive out these primitive patterns of underrepresentation, underutilization and skewed distributions of women in management, and, in actuality, they believe that this shift is beginning to occur already. The lack of training for employees on expatriate assignments has been emphasized by many researchers as a problem common to many firms who send employees to other countries.
Many of the problems encountered are due to workers’ ignorance about the foreign culture they are visiting. Cultural training for workers on shorter-term assignments is practically non-existent. Therefore employees are sent to other countries with no formal preparation, or they train themselves by reading books on the commercial market and, if time permits, have a language course at the local college or adult education centre. Women preparing for such missions frequently face a much more precarious situation than their male colleagues due to the traditional gender barriers they may face in states beyond the U.S.. These businesswomen are frequently unaware of the discrimination they may face, and are often left to fend for themselves unless otherwise advised by a knowledgeable female colleague.
Even the industrial guidebooks which businesswomen can turn to may be misleading. Most books in this genre were composed by men and either don’t address women’s particular issues in international business or, worse, they indicate that women shouldn’t even be sent on overseas business assignments because of role differences which these guys perceive to be unconquerable obstacles.
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By comparison, my own study (1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998) suggests that women can be successful in international business, regardless of the number of perspectives they experience around the world. Specifically, my research has demonstrated that establishing credibility throughout the first phases of company is one place that businesswomen find critical to their success. For guys, credibility is often derived from their sex and their standing in the firm.
For girls, credibility is more often derived from their unique skills. Women report that they frequently must work extra hard to establish credibility due to their gender. When I conduct business in many countries I am consciously aware that my male colleagues have more credibility than I do, simply because of sex differences. In most countries women aren’t anticipated to have significant positions of authority, so I’m frequently viewed in precisely the identical way. I’m first supposed to be an administrator, not the decision-maker from the group, whereas my male colleague is first seen as the supervisor or decision-maker.
I feel I must work doubly hard to establish my credibility before I can effectively run business and I’m aware that I want to get this done immediately so the company can start. When I travel outside the U.S. I’m viewed as overseas first, and feminine second. However, I believe I am still met with some degree of skepticism about what my role is and how much authority I have for the corporate office. For this reason, I take extra actions to be certain the appropriate introductions are made in advance to restrict concerns that men may have about my credibility.
As a woman business owner I realize that I am not the norm in many countries. Therefore I must develop methods in which to establish itself and my business as credible for my overseas business partners. This requires preparation and progress communication about my company, our success and our viability — maybe more than is needed for guys who run their own companies.
Be visible. Attend and host meetings between your organization and your international counterparts whenever possible. International travel is frequently related to decision-makers in a company, so being gift adds to your credibility. Introductions are important, especially for girls. If you’re doing business with a company for the first time, have yourself introduced with a higher-ranking individual in your company who knows the people with whom you’ll be dealing. If you can’t have someone present you, request a higher-ranking individual on your company to send a facsimile or written correspondence ahead of time, outlining your name, responsibilities and history.
Ensure that your business card suggests a distinctive name such as “Manager” or”Director” so that your position can be clearly comprehended. If there’s any doubt about your name, it might be automatically assumed that you have a lesser role than other members in your team. Some women wear a college ring or a graduate school pendant to subtly promote their background. Others use corporate hooks designating tenure, thus demonstrating their level of experience.
Generally speaking, foreigners will frequently look and react more to the guys on your team than the girls. This is because there are fewer women in executive positions beyond the U.S. Prepare for this by advising your coworkers of tactics that can help you and another female members, such as making seating arrangements which will place you in a position of authority. If a person seems confused about your name and rank, offer him another business card, even if you’ve already given him one. Women should lead company discussions where possible.
If there’s only 1 girl and everyone is of equal position, allow the girl take the lead to help establish her credibility. A female team leader may experience a difficulty establishing her credibility unless staff members defer to her as the authority figure on the group. American men will need to be mindful that their inclination to jump in and answer questions, particularly when a woman is talking, undermines her ability and the team’s effectiveness. Women should counsel team members to not answer questions directed to her and to otherwise defer to her whenever appropriate.
Present yourself in a sincere, confident, professional manner, both in speech and appearance, to make a fantastic first impression. Be yourself. Don’t come on too strong, but do not defer when it’s suitable for you to respond. Deferring to position and age is, however, always acceptable for both genders. Be conscious of women’s roles in different nations. If you realize where girls are in their corporate environment it will provide you insight into how the culture may perceive you.
Managers can be quite powerful in global business by helping to boost their group’s credibility. The supervisor can present the staff members by name and outline their areas of expertise, act as moderator to refer questions to the proper team member, and emphasize the staff’s accomplishments. It’s essential that all team members, such as management, understand their functions in the meeting and, furthermore, they don’t act out of function. If one of your coworkers is behaving out of function, call for a break to describe how the group loses effectiveness when it’s not cohesive.
As a girl, you should notify management your personal credibility might be jeopardized if your role is undermined, and that this may hinder the achievement of the group in any follow-up meetings. Managers can help improve the credibility of female teammates by strengthening their authority throughout the meeting. For instance, if a woman isn’t receiving the right regard, the manager might once more bring attention to her character and ability.