Challenges Faced by Expat Women 

January 2023 

Recent studies show that only 14% of employees on international assignments across a global scale are women

Although, this statistic does vary by industry and region. The corresponding reports show that expat women face additional challenges while working abroad. 

You may have several motivations are for relocating to a new country. You may wish to take on a new experience or an opportunity to advance your career. We explore the unique challenges expat women can face, and how you can overcome them.

Depending on where you are moving to as a woman you might be treated differently than in your home country. This can be due to local cultural attitudes, religion, and laws in your new country.  Doing your own research on your new location will help you get to know the lay of the land.  Being aware of any restrictions or challenges you might face will help you transition into new cultures easily. Before moving to a new country, you must be aware of your rights to ensure your own personal safety abroad.
Depending on your industry and new location nurturing female talent may not be a focus for some countries and companies. When it comes to being involved in critical aspects of your role. If you are faced with extra challenges, how can you ensure your voice and decision-making powers are heard? Being proactive and assertive in your new company can help ensure you are kept in the loop. Putting yourself forward for new projects is another great way to build your network and gain exposure in your company. 

In your role back at home your management style comes from your own experiences and culture. In your new company, you may have to adjust your style of management. Having an open work environment for collaboration might be your normal back home. But in countries like Asia having open feedback regularly is considered disrespectful. 

In your new home you will soon pick up on cultural customs. This is where learning to adapt comes into play. Challenging the typical cultural norms can sometimes hinder progress. Adding to the experience of culture shock. Learning to adjust your own ways of working with cultural norms will help establish yourself in your new company. 

Statistics show that 89% of women become travelling spouses when families make the move overseas. Whether you have secured your own job abroad or will become the primary caregiver both bring their own set of challenges for expat women. Establishing a new network of friends requires a lot of effort and patience. Particularly when your met with an additional language barrier. 

It’s no surprise to see that 48% of trailing spouses struggle with social isolation. Settling in a new country takes a lot of effort. Consider joining an expat network and put yourself out there to connect with locals. Learning the local language is another great way to give you a better sense of being a part of your new community

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