Business Etiquette for Women Traveling AbroadJules Hirst
Here is a great article by: Rogue Parrish, Demand Media written for USA Today I thought you would enjoy.
Women business travelers should wear a high-quality dress or skirted suit in a solid color, as Jeanette S. Martin and Lillian H. Chaney recommend in “Global Business Etiquette: A Guide To International Communication And Customs.” Ann Sabath in “International Business Etiquette: Europe” notes the importance of chic clothes and makeup in France; going for a tailored look in Austria; minimal accessories in Denmark; and wearing dark colors in Germany.
What to Avoid
When planning your wardrobe, avoid pantsuits, very high heels or boots and costume jewelry. “Global Business Etiquette” notes that business-casual attire, although popular in the 1990s, presented “special problems for women,” particularly those wanting to advance to management, where they are less likely to be taken seriously. John T. Molloy, author of “New Women’s Dress for Success,” recommends that women purchase expensive business-casual attire in a traditional style, to avoid losing authority with colleagues and new acquaintances.
Southeast Asian countries with high heat and humidity dictate the wearing of natural fabrics, while conservative dresses and suits rule the day in Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. In Arab countries, women should wear loose-fitting dresses that cover the arms. Martin and Chaney note that in Africa, dress is somewhat more formal in the English-speaking countries and less formal in nations where French is the business language. Business attire is executive casual in Australia and New Zealand, though more relaxed in the Southern Hemisphere summer. Use high-end fashion for visits to South America.
If you plan to visit churches, mosques or temples as part of your business itinerary or during your free time, bring scarves, blouses that cover the upper arms and closed-toe shoes. “Global Business Etiquette” recommends that when visiting Europe, you should bring good jewelry; before visiting an area with public-safety issues, however, leave jewelry home to avoid attracting criminal attention.
The more women interact with people and colleagues in host nations, “the more they will increase their knowledge” of appropriate norms and behaviors, note Martin and Chaney, who also mention that in some locales women in business have a curiosity factor and “can gain access to higher-level managers more easily than men.” It also helps to network with mentors and expatriates, who can guide you in the many nuances of local business etiquette.
Ann Sabath notes that business etiquette for women may change depending on the local view of women in positions of business authority. In the Czech Republic, where few women are in decision-making roles, you will win acceptance with conservative dress and behavior. In Denmark, by contrast, women can feel free to initiate meetings and social engagements with men. Similarly, women in China are likely to be accepted on equal terms, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BuyUSA.gov site. Britain lies somewhere in the middle. British men may cling to traditional attitudes about women and roles, so don’t be defensive if you are addressed as “deary,” “love” or “darling.”