Thus, for example, while a woman expatriate manager is supposed to attend dinner parties and other private functions organized by the organization or the customers and business partners, the expatriate female manager is also supposed to take huge precautions to ensure that attending such functions do not expose her to any safety risks. The major safety risk that leaves women highly vulnerable is unfamiliarity (Shay & Bruce, 1997:34). While a female worker could be well acquainted with the work environment and its surrounding in her own country, perceiving the surrounding and the cultural atmosphere in a foreign country is a major challenge for a female expatriate.
Thus, to control the problem of safety risks, it becomes very essential for a woman expatriate to know the streets or the neighborhoods that are safe for travelling, while also necessitating the need to put the cultural, social, historical and contemporary issues of the new society into perspective, for a woman expatriate to feel safe (Bensimon, 1998:24). This however is not a major concern for their male expatriate counterparts, who are not as much vulnerable to safety risks as does the female.
Therefore, the safety risks remain a major challenge facing expatriate women working for MNCs or other international assignments, thus reducing the number of successful women expatriate managers currently representing global organizations in the world. Social and cultural attitudes against women expatriates The social and cultural contexts facing women expatriates representing their organizations in foreign countries are different from what they are used to in their countries most the times (Caligiuri & Cascio, 1998:397). This is most especially under situations where there is a cultural conflict between the dynamic/liberal and conservative social and cultural settings, which affects the very personal aspects of the women expatriates’ lives.
For example, for a woman expatriate representing a western organization that has business interests either in Asia, Africa or the Middle East, the first major social and cultural challenge that the woman expatriate is likely to face is the culture of dressing, where the expatriate may be required to change the dressing mode completely, to suit the desired cultures and social standards of the new society (Heran & Piekkari, 2005:429).
Such challenges do not only impact on the outlook of the woman expatriate, but also on the psychological health, which eventually impacts on the confidence and self-esteem levels of the expatriate.
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