Speaker: Working women facing issues home, not overseas

The biggest gender issues women face in the workplace are in the United States, not abroad, a global management consulting firm executive said to about 50 people Tuesday evening in Smith Hall.

Accenture executive Julie Coffman said that when working overseas she felt she wasn’t viewed by her gender, but by her business capabilities.

“I think some places abroad who have gone through globalization and emerged as players in the world economy have done a better job sometimes working through gender issues (than the U.S.),” Coffman said.

Coffman said that while it is not always as evident, women still face challenges men do not when it comes to making their way in the business world, mainly because of the common thought that women stay at home with the family while the men go to work.

“You’re going to see different things everywhere you go,” Coffman said. “Whether you want to have a family or it’s the glass ceiling effect, you have to learn to adapt to the problem and find the right direction to go.”

Bryan Ward, also an executive from Accenture, said that if people plan on getting an internship or job overseas, it is important to know the language or the region they will be in.

“Knowing a foreign language if you are going to be traveling abroad for work is a key tool to have,” Ward said. “Most of our counterparts in Europe speak multiple languages which puts you at a disadvantage if you don’t.”

Management professor Garry Bruton said one of the greatest challenges for TCU students is forcing themselves to get out of the “bubble” they live in.

“If you can’t get out of the country, the best way to learn more about different cultures on campus is to get to know more foreign students,” Bruton said. “Most TCU students don’t take advantage of that opportunity as much as they should.”