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You can't change the sexist attitudes you find in the global marketplace, but you can take advantage of them.

This story appears in the August 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Imagine you're on a European trade mission being told by a prominent entrepreneur how to successfully conduct business in his country. Despite the fact that there are five women in the room, he addresses the men only, constantly saying things like "your wife," and "when your kids spend time with their mothers."

This is exactly what Lynn O'Brien Hallstein, an assistant professor of communications at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts, experienced during trade trips to Central Europe and Latin America. She also reviewed a variety of literature on gender issues in international business; her research, she says, revealed gender "was both a hindrance and an asset."

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