Having more female applicants for expat roles is only part one of the process. The role should go to the person best able to do the job, irrespective of gender. However, you can help to level the playing field by providing the women in your organisation with the tools they need to excel.
Provide women with leadership skills/training:
A combination of nature and nurture can prevent some women from performing as well in the selection process as they might. Women are sometimes judged in society in a way that male counterparts are not. Often the expectation of what it takes to be a good leader conflicts with expected behaviour by a woman. Provide training to identify and overcome these difficulties. Leadership training should also highlight the unique traits women possess and how they can be used successfully in an expatriate role.
Create a career plan for employees:
Ensure as many employees as possible within your organisation have a career plan. The benefit of this is twofold. It sets your business’ expectations around what an employee should be achieving but it also provides a clear path of progression for that employee. This is likely to assist with retention. If that path includes completion of an expatriate assignment, it may encourage employees to accept a role.
Have a mentorship programme that shows the value of expatriate experience:
As part of their career plan, employees should have a formal or informal mentor. Ideally have ex-expatriates mentor employees you would like to see gain experience working abroad. This will allow them to share any concerns they have and get a realistic idea of what working abroad might be like for them.
Ensure all the expats working for your company have access to the international healthcare they may need by protecting them with international health insurance.