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India for the Businesswoman

Sep 12, 2012 | atiq | Business India | No Comments

Foreign Businesswomen are still a novelty in India and will be treated with exquisite politeness during a visit . Visiting businesswoman also may get more face-time from senior executives than their male counterparts might.

But female visitors also may encounter the subtle paternalistic treatment often given to businesswomen in India. For Instance when you want to network, an Indian male colleague may step in and say, ill take care of it.

If its starts becoming patronizing, you may want to list your past business successes to establish your credentials. Aggression is a women is not appreciated.



Some Indian Men are awkward around female business colleague especially foreigners who are senior to them in business. If they avoid shaking your hand or making eye contact, don’t be insulted. A good rule of thumb is to wait for your Indian colleague to offer his hand before extending yours.

If he does not, a brief smile and a nod may suffice as an introductory gesture. Business women should be prepared for personal questions that go beyond basic marital and family status- like “ Why aren’t you married ? and to handle tactfully what she calls over hospitality” – i can take you shopping or my wife will show you around the city.



Female visitors traveling alone during daytime hours generally are safe, although you should use the hotel car service or prepaid taxis to get around specially Delhi.

At night, most hosts will offer you an escort back to your hotel. Unless you know the city and are being driven by a trusted company or a hotel driver, accept the offer.

Top End hotels in major cities take special care of Women and may have senior staff members check on your safety. In Some cities like Bangalore, women working at night is a recent phenomenon. Government guidelines in Bangalore as well as in Delhi say that companies must provide escorts to female employes after 10pm.

Female visitors should keep handy the telephone numbers of their local hosts and business contacts. This is useful in case of a sudden shutdown of services, such as taxis.

Some multinational companies like Microsoft have prepared visitors information that gives advice on what to do in the event of an unexpected strike or personal problem.


Women In India

Women in India are by law required to be paid on par with male counterparts and many say the glass ceiling to promotion is becoming easier to crack.

A lot more woman are launching their own business today which is a great sign.



Despite India’s heat , women visitors should dress conservatively to blend in comfortably with their business colleagues.

Working women in India favor traditional dress, either a sari or salwar kameez , a tunic and trouser combination. As a visitor you can wear a dress although it should have a modest neckline and sleeves. Bare legs are not frowned upon , but your hemlines should be at the knee or below.

Pantsuits as longs as they are not tightly tailored are acceptable.

Wearing sleeveless clothing is not recommended.

Even on a weekends when temperature is skyrocketing , it would be inappropriate for a foreigner women to enter a temple or a place of religious worship is a pair or shorts and a tank top.

Women who smoke in public are not unusual in Mumbai, Bangalore and some sections of Delhi, but female visitors should be aware that smoking in public without a male companion may be seen by some Indian men as an invitation.  Woman who smoke are not necessarily considered loose but some cities they maybe considered fast especially if the cigarettes are accompanied by glasses of alcohol.

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