Yes, that’s right. Here in Dubai, if I need to sign for a new corporate cheque book (yes, cheques are still the preferred payment choice here), negotiate my rental agreement, or renew my trade licence, I’m always asked, “Are you boss man?”
The first time I heard it I was bemused and then annoyed and but really it’s not that dissimilar to being a Chairman or a Foreman – it’s just the most generic way of asking if I’m top dog.
Running a business in the Middle East as a woman (and a Western one, too), is actually a lot easier than you’d think. At a professional level, my female business partner and I have never encountered any negativity. We’ve never knowingly lost any pitches or business just because we’re of the fairer sex. On the contrary, it sets us apart. We’re often described as brave or pioneering but we’re no braver than our male counterparts.
The most commonly asked question I get from my peers, colleagues, friends and clients who work in the West is “How do you do it as a woman in the Middle East?”
A question that loosely translates as, “Are you boss man?”
by Fiona Menzies
Managing Director (Dubai)
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network