Expatriate Business Women In Asia

Business in Asia remains a man’s world with women having a hard time breaking the barriers.   As a single female expatriate, you are alone when embracing the new culture and managing culture shock.  Isolation is cited as a major problem. However, gender has become much less of a barrier to success in management in Asia, and there are a number of successful women as entrepreneurs and in powerful political positions.

  The following guidelines may be helpful:  
• Find and join one of the above-mentioned groups as soon as possible.   • You are expected to adopt the norms and respect the local traditions for women in your professional and private life.   • You will not command respect automatically but gain respect by fitting in.   • There are a number of regional and local networks for businesswomen in Southeast Asia, some created by female expatriates.   • A single female sends out mixed signals to the men in Southeast Asia. You may be a potential social problem.   • Look for support from male and other female expatriate colleagues, but do not complain.   • Local male colleagues will treat you differently than their local female colleagues.   • Authorities in Southeast Asia are respected and dealt with in a very formal way. Use your female qualities rather than those shown by many task-driven Western male expatriates.   • Local colleagues like you to show interest and learn new things from them. Listen, rather than lecture.   • Learn the local language and use your new skills as often as possible.   • Show high competence in whatever you do.   • Be inclusive rather than directive.   • Do not act overly competitive.   • Avoid conflicts and emphasize harmony.   • Insist on adequate support from headquarters for a successful performance.   To find out more about job opportunities in Singapore, click here.     Written by: Jacqueline Reischel (ex Singapore Expat)