Although the Western world is hinged on a culture of equality between the sexes, some other regions approach the issue from a different angle. It's still important to consider gender issues when preparing to travel or work abroad. This section will assist women in understanding what to expect, what to demand, and how to protect themselves abroad.
- Learn about gender roles in your destination country: Are women considered equals? Are professional men likely to be put off by a female manager? Don’t assume you can change a cultural approach overnight. Be sensitive to the culture you are entering into and accommodate your new colleagues’ values as much as possible.
- Get organized: When applying for or starting a job in a foreign country (particularly in the developing world), it’s best if you leave no room for doubt about your capabilities. Strong academic credentials, references, relevant experience and a network of contacts in the industry will serve to prove to your employer that you mean business.
- Mind your appearance: Depending on what country you will be living in, standard dress for women will vary significantly. Learn the customs before leaving and adhere to them, even if you feel the styles are too conservative. This is a simple sign of respect.
- Develop a thick skin: In some countries, it is not uncommon for men to whistle, wink or even shout at women in the streets. Don’t be distracted if this happens to you. You can either ignore it or diffuse the situation by making a joke.
- Stay safe: Generally, women need to be more aware about street crime and potential safety risks when abroad. There are a number of things you can do (and avoid doing) to minimize the risks.
Related Reading on the main MyWorldAbroad (for registered users):