Women in business, especially internationally, face certain predictable issues--being treated as if they're invisible, encountering stereotypical views of women's capabilities, being looked at as some sort of a phenomenon and even being considered so unusual, they're treated as a "third sex."
While you might initially consider these to be problems, they could work to your benefit. There seems to be an odd respect for women in some cultures. This real appreciation of femininity gives women some room to negotiate. Here are some strategies for women to use when doing business abroad:
- Research attitudes toward women in a given country before you go, but don't automatically assume you'll be treated that way.
- Connect with American woman already in the location where you want to conduct business. They can give you further insight and may even be able to provide introductions to people willing to open doors for you.
- Choose your battles. Decide which behavior will get you the contract: confrontation, removing yourself from the situation or exploiting the sexist behavior.